Tuesday, May 30, 2006

big news for tribco

this page has sometimes commented on the disastrous affairs of tribune company, owner of the cubs, and how the deteriorating condition of the company could spark a massive sale of assets -- potentially including the cubs. sale rumors have been heard and commented on, and shareholder pressure noted.

major news came on that front today. this page again defers to chuck gitles of ivy chat, who has followed the fiscal tribulations of tribco assiduously.

The Tribune Co. ... authorized the repurchase of up to 75 million shares of its outstanding stock Tuesday. That number represents 25 percent of the company's outstanding stock, and is valued at $2.1 billion.

Repurchases will be funded through a combination of bank debt and publicly-issued bonds, the company said, and it will increase cash flow with at least $500 million in asset sales, which "could include certain non-core broadcasting and publishing assets as well as real estate and securities held for investment" according to a release.

this is really happening, dear reader. the tribune company has committed itself to a major divestment of non-core assets -- that is, quite possibly, the cubs. and, as chuck notes, fitch and moody's will enforce that commitment mercilessly by slashing tribco's debt to junk status until they complete these sales.

is this final word that the cubs are going to be sold this year? unfortunately, no. but the chances of a sale of the franchise have never been higher since tribco bought them. speculation about a potential buyer is rampant. this page would advise you, dear reader, to expect and prepare for the probability of a sale before the start of the 2007 season -- that is, put a bottle of dom perignon 1998 in the refrigerator, just in case.

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