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Sun-Times owner exploring purchase of Tribune assets

Updated: February 20, 2013 6:10AM



Chicago Sun-Times owner Wrapports LLC is exploring opportunities for expansion, including considering a purchase of Tribune Co. assets, a Wrapports spokeswoman said Friday.

Wrapports has engaged New York investment bank Allen & Co. to explore a purchase of assets of Tribune Co., the spokeswoman said. She declined to provide further detail.

Tribune Co. emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy at the end of December after four years of legal battles. The media giant, which owns the Chicago Tribune and WGN-TV and radio, is expected to be sold in pieces, now that it’s owned by the financial firms who had been its biggest creditors.

Rupert Murdoch, the media baron who runs News Corp., has been considered a possible buyer of marquee names such as the Chicago Tribune newspaper or the company’s Los Angeles Times.

Tribune’s 23 TV stations are the profitable side of its business, so there could be less pressure to sell them. But asset sales have been expected to be the focus of the owners, Oaktree Capital Management LP; Angelo, Gordon & Co. and JP Morgan Chase & Co.

The assets include stakes in Food Network and CareerBuilder Inc., Lance Vitanza, managing director at CRT Capital Group LLC, told Bloomberg News last year.

Financial adviser Lazard in 2012 estimated that the company’s newspapers, primarily its eight major dailies, are together worth $623 million. Lazard estimated the company’s 23 TV stations and WGN are worth $2.85 billion.

On Thursday, television executive Peter Liguori was named chief executive of Tribune Co.

Wrapports is the owner of Sun-Times Media, publisher of the Sun-Times and more than 40 other media properties. In May, Wrapports acquired the Chicago Reader, Chicago’s largest free weekly newspaper. Wrapports is also an investor in High School Cube, which provides high schools with a social streaming platform to capture live events.



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