Tribune Media Will Explore Sale of Company or Other Strategic Options

Owner of WGN America Cable Network and 42 Local TV Stations

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An American flag flies atop the Tribune Tower in Chicago.
An American flag flies atop the Tribune Tower in Chicago. Credit: Christopher Dilts/Bloomberg

Tribune Media Co., owner of 42 local-TV stations and the WGN America cable network, said it intends to explore "strategic and financial alternatives" to better reflect its value, with its stock down 50% in the past year.

Tribune's board and the company are working with Moelis & Co. and Guggenheim Securities on potential options, which may include selling or separating assets or pursuing new partnerships and programming alliances, according to a statement Monday. The company hasn't set a deadline completing a review of alternatives, it said.

"We believe that the value of the portfolio of businesses of Tribune Media is not fully reflected in the stock price and intend to explore ways to unlock value by reviewing strategic alternatives," Tribune Chairman Bruce Karsh said.

Tribune spun off Tribune Publishing's newspaper business in 2014, less than two years after emerging from bankruptcy protection. The company also has minority stakes in the Food Network and in website CareerBuilder, and it owns and manages real estate it values at more than $1 billion.

Tribune shares have declined 61% since the split with the publishing business, compared with a 6.3% increase for the Russell 3000 Radio & TV Broadcasters Index.

Tribune Publishing has struggled as well. The company, which owns the Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune, ousted Chief Executive Officer Jack Griffin last week less than a month after investor Michael Ferro became non-executive chairman.

Mr. Griffin, who took over as CEO in 2014, was succeeded by Justin Dearborn. Mr. Dearborn had been CEO of Merge Healthcare, whose software helps doctors manage medical images. In August, International Business Machines Corp. agreed to buy Merge, where Mr. Ferro was chairman, for about $1 billion.

Tribune Publishing suspended its dividend earlier this month, after Mr. Ferro became its largest shareholder with a $44.4 million investment, equal to a 17% stake, and joined the board. Ferro is also majority owner of the Chicago Sun-Times through his media holding company Wrapports LLC.

-- Bloomberg News

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