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TESS VIGELAND: It’s been a rough stretch for publicly-held media companies. Publisher Knight Ridder split up and sold 32 papers to competitors across the country. Now the Tribune company — owners of the LA Times and the Chicago Tribune — is facing a similar fate. Alisa Roth tells us, it’s as much about the industry as it is about the individual companies.
ALISA ROTH: The Tribune Company is in trouble. Its stock price has fallen nearly 40 percent in the last two years. Earlier this month, the company announced a $2 billion stock buyback program that was supposed to fix that.
But the company’s second largest shareholders aren’t buying it. The Chandler family became big investors when it sold a rival media company to the Tribune. Now it says the Tribune needs to sell off its TV assets or unload its media business altogether.
Ed Atorino follows the Tribune for the Benchmark Company. He says shareholders are interested in stock prices, not IN the state of the newspaper industry. But, he says, it’s advertising that’s the root of the problem.
ED ATORINO: Some has gone to the Internet, but there has been consolidation in retailing, you had all those phone companies, a lot of them are gone. The auto companies are struggling, the airlines are struggling. A lot of that advertising has disappeared and that has hurt the revenue streams of the newspapers and the share prices have gone down.
Atorino says chances of the tribune going along with the Chandlers’ plan are about 50-50 . Either way, he says, it’s the beginning of the end game for the Tribune.
In New York, I’m Alisa Roth for Marketplace.
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