Tribune attracts some interest

The Chicago-based media giant and parent of the LAT did receive several preliminary offers from private-equity firms for the entire company (though the latest circulation numbers would be enough to give some investors pause). The LAT story suggested that the offers were on the low-ball side, with little prospect for much, if any, premium over the current stock price of $33.47 (that's a market value of about $8.2 billion). That may be true, but it's risky jumping to conclusions about how the auction might play out. Only now will the interested parties have access to Tribune's books, and offers might rise and fall as a result. (Some firms might just back out.) In any event, private-equity firms aren't known for being talkative about bidding strategies, so be careful about who says what in the stories you read.

Of course, the implication behind the supposedly lukewarm interest in the entire company is that Tribune might be compelled to sell off its assets piecemeal. That would include the LAT, Chicago Cubs, etc. But again, it's early. According to news reports, here's the line-up of interested suitors: a group that includes Providence Equity Partners, Madison Dearborn Partners and Apollo Management; a group that includes Thomas H. Lee Partners and the Texas Pacific Group; the Carlyle Group; and Bain Capital. And yes, you read right - no media companies in the bunch.

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Mark Lacter
Mark Lacter created the LA Biz Observed blog in 2006. He posted until the day before his death on Nov. 13, 2013.
Mark Lacter, business writer and editor was 59
The multi-talented Mark Lacter
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