Tribune Co. fielding offers for newspapers

Tribune Co. has hired two investment banks to manage offers to buy its newspapers, executives confirmed, saying no decisions have been made about whether to sell any properties. JPMorgan Chase and Evercore Partners will oversee a process to consider offers for Tribune Co.’s publishing assets, including the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times and six other daily newspapers. Chicago-based Tribune Co. emerged from four years in Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Dec. 31, owned by its senior creditors.

Consumer confidence up more than expected

Confidence among U.S. consumers jumped more than forecast in February as American’s adjusted to a higher payroll tax and signs of a recovering housing market spurred faith in the future. The Conference Board’s index climbed to 69.6, exceeding all forecasts in a Bloomberg survey of economists, from a revised 58.4 in January, data from the private research group showed. It was the first improvement in four months and the biggest since November 2011. The gain in sentiment from the lowest level in more than a year signals Americans are beginning to cope with the a two percentage-point increase in the payroll tax used to fund Social Security and higher gasoline prices that are curbing disposable income.

Apple to pay $100M over kids buying apps

Apple has agreed to pay out more than $100 million to parents whose children downloaded applications from its online iTunes store without permission, according to a settlement in a class-action lawsuit. The settlement, which awaits approval from a federal judge, says Apple will provide $5 iTunes credit to as many as 23 million customers whose children purchased apps unbeknown to them. Parents who claim $30 or more can receive cash instead of store credit, a filing with the court said.

Cablevision, Viacom face off over bundling

Cablevision filed a lawsuit against Viacom, accusing the media company of forcing it to carry 14 little-watched cable channels. The lawsuit filed in federal court in New York alleges that Viacom illegally bundled its channels, forcing Cablevision to pay for Palladia, MTV Hits and VH1 Classic, in order to offer consumers the company’s more popular cable channels like MTV, Comedy Central and Nickelodeon. The cost of carrying those smaller channels is passed on to customers’ cable bills, Cablevision said. Viacom said that it does not explicitly require distributors to bundle all of its channels together; rather, the company offers lower prices when smaller channels are grouped together with bigger channels.

Music sales rise for first time since 1999

The music industry, the first media business to be consumed by the digital revolution, said that its global sales had risen last year for the first time since 1999, raising hopes that a long-sought recovery might have finally begun. The increase, of 0.3 percent, was tiny, and the total revenue, $16.5 billion, was a far cry from the $38 billion that the industry took in at its peak more than a decade ago. Still, the figures provide a significant psychological boost.

Pentagon to allow Apple, Google phones

The U.S. Defense Department said it will begin opening its communications networks by next February to mobile phones and tablet computers from Apple Inc. and Google Inc. The move may pose a threat to BlackBerry’s dominance at the Pentagon, which has more than 450,000 of the company’s devices. The Pentagon said it wants employees to have the flexibility to use commercial products on its systems, including its classified network for the first time.