Despite making massive cutbacks including laying off hundreds of employees, and selling off assets, Tribune Company is reportedly exploring a bankruptcy filing. According to reports appearing in today's (Monday) New York Times and Wall Street Journal , profits at the newspaper and broadcasting empire may not be sufficient to cover interest on the company's $12-billion debt, incurred from real estate mogul Sam Zell's leveraged buyout a year ago. The Times suggested that Zell's decision to hire a team of bankruptcy advisers could be regarded as a "just-in-case move" or a tactic for bargaining with lenders. The newspaper also indicated that the major issue may not concern Tribune's ability to make its debt payments but complying with a requirement that its debt not exceed nine times its operating cash flow (EBITDA). In its own report on the apparent financial crunch, the Chicago Tribune quoted a company spokesperson as saying, "It's an uncertain and difficult environment. ... We're looking at all of our options." Tribune owns 23 TV stations and 12 newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune.

08/12/2008