U.S. media giant Tribune Company said Wednesday it would split its broadcasting
and publishing divisions into two companies with separate company boards.
Although long associated with the Chicago newspaper bearing its name, the company said it would bestow the name Tribune Co. on its broadcasting business and create Tribune Publishing Company to operate its stable of newspapers, which includes the Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times.
Crain's Chicago Business reported that the media giant's broadcasting division earned $366.5 million in profits in 2012, up from $325.5 million in 2010. Over the same period, net profits on its newspapers were $88.8 million in 2012, down from $155.8 million in 2010.
The goal is to eventually sell the newspapers that are increasingly out of sync with modern business models that are moving away from printing and distributing newspapers in favor of delivering news on the Internet, Crain's said.
Tellingly, the Tribune Co. last week announced its first major purchase since emerging from bankruptcy in late December - a purchase of Local TV Holdings in a $2.73 billion all-cash deal that included 19 television stations.
That deal, Tribune Co. said, would make it owner of more television stations than any other company in the country.
The move to split the company in two "is designed to allow each company to maximize its flexibility and competitiveness in a rapidly changing media environment," said Tribune Chief Executive Officer Peter Liguori in a statement.
"Moving to separate our publishing and broadcasting assets into two distinct companies will bring single-minded attention to the journalistic standards, advertising partnerships and digital prospects of our iconic newspapers, while also enabling us to take advantage of the operational and strategic opportunities created by the significant scale we are building in broadcasting," Liguori said.
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