Tribune Co. exits long Chapter 11 bankruptcy

  • Updated: December 31, 2012 - 7:33 PM

CHICAGO - More than four years after crushing debt and plunging advertising sales forced it to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, Tribune Co. has emerged with a new television-focused board and over $1 billion in new financing.

Led by such creative and technology heavyweights as Ross Levinsohn, the former interim CEO of Yahoo Inc., and Peter Murphy, former strategic officer of the Walt Disney Co., the board's roster suggests a focus on the company's TV assets rather than newspapers, which haven't managed to turn around declines in readership and advertising. Peter Liguori, a former TV executive at Discovery Communications Inc. and News Corp.'s Fox, is expected to be named CEO.

The company's restructuring dragged on for years due to fraud allegations and dueling lawsuits between creditors. The parties agreed to a plan that included payouts of nearly $3 billion in cash to creditors and turned ownership over to senior lenders including Oaktree Capital Management, Angelo Gordon and Co., and JPMorgan Chase and Co.

The emerging Tribune is estimated to be worth about $4.5 billion, with television assets generating most of its value. Newspapers -- seen as accounting for less than 15 percent of its value today -- are expected to be sold off in a process that will likely see several bidders.

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