Tribune Co. to spin off newspapers

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One week after boosting its broadcasting holdings with the announcement of a deal to purchase 19 television stations,  Tribune Co. said Wednesday morning it intends to spin off its publishing business into a separate company.

The move would separate Tribune Co.’s publishing assets, including the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times and six other daily newspapers, from the Chicago-based media company’s more profitable broadcasting holdings, ending decades of evolution together under one roof.

A detailed plan is expected to be developed during the next nine to 12 months which, pending board approval, would create Tribune Publishing Co., a separate entity with its own board of directors and senior management team.  Tribune Co. stakeholders would receive a tax-free distribution of shares in the new company.

Once completed, only the newspapers and associated publishing assets would move over to the new company. Tribune Co. would retain all other holdings, including 42 local television stations upon the closing of last week’s announced $2.73 billion acquisition of Cincinnati-based Local TV LLC.  National cable channel WGN America, WGN Radio, Tribune Studios, Tribune Digital Ventures, Tribune Media Services, equity interests in Classified Ventures, CareerBuilder and Food Network, and all real estate assets – including Tribune Tower and Freedom Center — would also remain with Tribune Co.

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Tribune Tower