Publisher Tribune to emerge from bankruptcy on Dec 31

Mon Dec 31, 2012 2:27pm IST

A newspaper stand in downtown Chicago selling the Chicago Tribune in Chicago, Illinois December 8, 2008. REUTERS/Frank Polich/Files

A newspaper stand in downtown Chicago selling the Chicago Tribune in Chicago, Illinois December 8, 2008.

Credit: Reuters/Frank Polich/Files

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REUTERS - U.S. media giant The Tribune Co, owner of the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune, said late on Sunday it will emerge from bankruptcy on December 31, ending four years of Chapter 11 reorganization.

Chicago-based Tribune said it will emerge from the Chapter 11 process with a portfolio of profitable assets that will include eight major daily newspapers and 23 TV stations. The company will also have a new board of directors.

"Tribune will emerge as a dynamic multi-media company with a great mix of profitable assets, powerful brands in major markets, sufficient liquidity for operations and investments and significantly less debt," Eddy Hartenstein, Tribune's chief executive officer, said in an email to employees. "In short, Tribune is far stronger than it was when we began the Chapter 11 process."

As part of the Chapter 11 exit, the company will close on a new $1.1 billion senior secured term loan and a new $300 million asset-based revolving credit facility.

The term loan will be used to fund certain payments under the plan of reorganization and the revolving credit facility will be used to fund ongoing operations, the company said.

Upon exiting bankruptcy, Tribune will have issued to former creditors a mix of about 100 million shares of new class A common stock and new class B common stock and new warrants to purchase shares of new class A or class B common stock.

The current chief executive officer, Eddy Hartenstein, will remain in his role until the new board ratifies the company's executive officers.

The company announced a seven-person board that includes Hartenstein, former Fox Entertainment chairman Peter Liguori, former Yahoo (YHOO.O) interim CEO Ross Levinshohn and Peter Murphy, Walt Disney's (DIS.N) former top strategic planning executive.

Liquori is expected to be named Tribune's new chief executive officer.

In November, Tribune received regulatory approval from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to transfer its broadcast licenses to the owners who will take over the company when it emerges from bankruptcy.

The company's plan of reorganization was confirmed by the Delaware bankruptcy court in July. Tribune's emergence from bankruptcy was conditional on the FCC approving the transfer of the broadcast licenses to new owners.

The case is In re: Tribune Co et al, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Delaware, No. 08-13141.

(Reporting by Sakthi Prasad in Bangalore; Editing by Matt Driskill)

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