Tribune call expected by quarter's end

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CHICAGO -- Tribune Co. said Tuesday that its board of directors continues to work on a resolution to the five-month-old review that could lead to the media company's restructuring or breakup.

The company said its board declared a regular quarterly dividend but was not ready to announce a decision on the review process, reiterating only that the process will be concluded by the end of March.

"The review process has been rigorous and will continue to move forward with the assistance of our outside financial and legal advisers," said William Osborn, Tribune's lead independent director and chairman of the special committee assigned to look into Tribune's options. "The board expects to make a decision on a course of action and have an announcement before the end of the first quarter."

The board convened at a regularly scheduled meeting to discuss its options after the review process failed to solicit a bid that clearly would jump-start Tribune's lagging stock price. It also declared a dividend of 18 cents per share, payable March 8 to shareholders of record as of Feb. 22.

Three proposals were submitted by the company's January deadline but none are thought to have been attractive enough for the company to accept. Those offers were made by the Chandler family, Tribune's largest shareholder; Los Angeles billionaires Ron Burkle and Eli Broad and The Carlyle Group, a private equity firm based in Washington, D.C.

The company owns 11 daily newspapers, 23 television stations, Internet businesses and the Chicago Cubs baseball team.

Tribune shares rose 11 cents to close at $30.40 on the New York Stock Exchange.
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