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Tribune Company to leave newspapers with millions in debt

The Los Angeles Times building. (Photo: Flickr / LA Wad)
The Los Angeles Times building. (Photo: Flickr / LA Wad)

The Tribune Company will leave its eight newspapers with over $300 million in debt once the predominately-broadcast company spins off its print division later this year.

According to a filing made by the company with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday, the new company called Tribune Publishing will pay its parent company $275 million when the print business separates from Tribune Company’s digital and broadcast properties.

When the print side of the business is spun off, it is expected to carry $325 million in debt. Some of the country’s largest newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times and the flagship Chicago Tribune, will form Tribune Publishing.

The separate company will allow Tribune to avoid hefty taxes that would normally come with selling off part or all of its print properties. It will also allow Tribune Company to collect around $30 million annually in rent from the smaller Tribune Publishing until the end of 2017.

Since emerging from bankruptcy last year, the Tribune Company has focused squarely on its digital and broadcast offerings. The company expanded its television portfolio by acquiring 19 T.V. stations from Local TV, LLC last December for nearly $3 billion.

The company eliminated over 800 positions at its newspaper properties last year, according to financial statements.

Chicago Tribune: Tribune publishing company to take on $300mil in debt

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).