Tribune posts 1Q profit, cancels earnings call as buyout looms

Tribune Publishing posted a first-quarter revenue however canceled its earnings call citing the approaching completion of a deal to take the newspaper big personal.

The writer of 9 dailies — together with the Chicago Tribune, the New York Daily News, the Hartford Courant and the Baltimore Sun — and the particular committee to guage the takeover has advisable shareholders approve Alden Global Capital’s $631 million buyout provide in a vote set for May 21, even as journalists throughout the corporate have loudly opposed the pending deal.

On Thursday, Tribune mentioned web earnings from persevering with operations grew to $6.1 million within the quarter ending March 31, reversing a web lack of $49 million from a 12 months in the past. Earnings earlier than curiosity, taxes, depreciation and amortization elevated to $25.5 million, in comparison with $9.1 posted a 12 months in the past.

Total income was $173.6 million, down from $206.4 million over the identical interval final 12 months.

The New York Daily News newspaper on September 9, 2017 after it was sold to Tribune. (Photo/Christopher Sadowski)
The New York Daily News newspaper on September 9, 2017 after it was offered to Tribune.
Christopher Sadowski

Digital-only subscriber income grew 66 p.c, however off a reasonably low base. The complete firm has solely 441,000 paid digital subscribers, up from 370,000 a 12 months in the past. The firm added solely 71,000 digital-only subscribers within the quarter.

CEO Terry Jiminez mentioned the corporate ended the quarter “with a sound balance sheet, including more than $250 million in total cash, no debt and nearly a $60 million year over year decrease in long term liabilities.”

“We remain cautious about the continuing impact and duration of the pandemic and we continue our efforts to reduce our cost structure, including real estate and other infrastructure,” he mentioned.

Newspapers together with the Daily News, the Hartford Courant, the Allentown Morning Call the Capitol Gazette and the Orlando Sentinel had been all instructed final August that they might not be returning to their newsrooms even after the pandemic lifts. The firm has disclosed in SEC filings that it defaulted on lease funds to some landlords going again to the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020.

Tribune journalists have expressed opposition to a takeover by Alden, infamous for deep cuts at different newspapers it controls from the Denver Post to the Boston Herald. Some staffers have even staged demonstrations in Baltimore and different cities.

Hotel mogul Stewart Bainum has been trying to counter Alden’s provide with a $680 million bid to purchase the entire firm, which he would then break up up and promote to native consumers. But Bainum’s bid has been flailing partially as a result of no one has stepped up with a bid to purchase the flagship Chicago Tribune, which just like the Daily News in New York has massive pension liabilities.

Alden Global Capital has agreed to buy Tribune Publishing Co., which owns the Chicago Tribune and several other newspapers around the country. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Alden Global Capital has agreed to purchase Tribune Publishing Co., which owns the Chicago Tribune and a number of other different newspapers across the nation.
Getty Images

The Chicago Tribune itself reported final week that an investor group headed by Jeremy Halbreich, one-time CEO of the Chicago Sun-Times, is scouting for different Windy City buyers to affix him in a bid for the paper.

Sources inform Media Ink, nevertheless, that Halbreich has not but reached out to affix the Bainum bid, suggesting backers have been exhausting to seek out.

Halbreich, who’s at the moment chairman of AIM Media proprietor of the Dallas Morning News, had tried to place collectively his personal buyout group to purchase Tribune final 12 months, however his value was deemed too low at the moment. Initially, his group’s $15 a share topped Alden’s authentic provide of $14.25 a share. But Alden upped the value to its present $17.25 a share provide.

Bainum is making an attempt to boost cash for an $18 a share provide.

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