Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune owner Tribune Co. is preparing for a possible bankruptcy filing, reports the Los Angeles Times.
The Chicago-based media conglomerate, which also owns the Baltimore Sun and five other major daily newspapers and a string of local television stations, is wobbling under a $12 billion debt load, reports the Wall Street Journal.
Tribune has been shaky since last December, when real-estate mogul Samuel Zell led a debt-backed deal to take the company private, it says. Tribune sold off Newsday to reduce debts. But the company's cash flow may not be enough to cover nearly $1 billion in interest payments due this year, says the Journal.
The Financial Times in London is also feeling the pinch of recession and falling advertising revenue.
It is offering buyouts and freezing salaries for employees who earn more than $50,000 a year, reports Reuters. Some of the staff are also being offered three-day weeks to cut costs, says the Guardian.
The Wall Street Journal and the New York Times are also having problems, says the Economist. It adds:
News Corp’s shares have actually fallen by more this year than those of the New York Times Company. And it is only Mr Murdoch’s diversification many years ago into television and the internet that has camouflaged what a poor financial investment it was to buy the Journal.
The Times now boasts the most visited American newspaper website,
But (the New York Times publisher) Mr Sulzberger has yet to find a business model on the web that generates enough money to support the Times’ high-quality, but expensive, global network of reporters. He is running out of time to do so. Meanwhile, Mr Murdoch dreams of becoming his puppet-master.
The Man Who Owns the News, the new Murdoch biography, “describes in convincing detail Mr Murdoch’s ever-stronger desire to acquire the New York Times”, the Economist adds.