Friday, March 14, 2008

Tribune Chairman May Consider Sale of Assets

Sam Zell addresses employees of The Baltimore Sun. [Sun photo]

A difficult economy and a steeper-than-expected decline in revenue could prompt the new leadership of Tribune Co. to re-evaluate its plan to keep all of the media giant's assets, Tribune chief executive Sam Zell said yesterday.

Zell, the motorcycle-riding real estate mogul who took control of Tribune in an $8.2 billion sale in December, has previously said he intended to keep Tribune's core newspapers. Besides The Sun, those papers include the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Newsday and smaller papers in Florida, Virginia and Connecticut.

Zell didn't rule out the possibility of asset sales. Asked if he would consider selling The Sun, Zell responded, "I don't know. The goal was to keep all of the assets together." But those goals were set with the expectation that revenue would be down 2 percent to 3 percent year over year, he said, not the 16 percent to 18 percent decline Tribune newspapers are experiencing.

"If that trend continues, we may have to re-evaluate a lot of our decisions," Zell told the crowded meeting. [Click for MORE] Sphere: Related Content

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