Tribune quarterly profit, revenue fall

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NEW YORK -- Newspaper publisher and broadcaster Tribune Co. said Wednesday that quarterly profit and revenue fell as newspaper advertising sales suffered.

The results come as the publisher of the Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times prepares to go private in an $8.2 billion deal led by Chicago real estate tycoon Sam Zell.

Second-quarter net income declined to $36.3 million, or 18 cents a share, from $87.8 million, or 28 cents a share, a year earlier.

Tribune earned 17 cents a share from continuing operations, including a charge of 8 cents a share for cutting 450 publishing and corporate jobs, 7 cents a share for writing off Los Angeles Times plant equipment and a net non-operating loss of 15 cents a share.

Included in the 15 cents are a loss related to the company's PHONES and Time Warner investment and expenses related to its plans to go private.

Excluding those items, Tribune's profit was 47 cents a share, shy by a penny of the consensus analyst expectation, according to Reuters Estimates.

Revenue fell 6.8% to $1.31 billion.

The company is taking on billions of dollars in debt to finance the deal to go private, and its recent performance has led to speculation among analysts and business experts that it may become too difficult for the company to pay off the debt.

The transaction is on track, however, chief executive Dennis FitzSimmons said in a statement. "We anticipate closing the transaction in the fourth quarter, following FCC approval, and expect to be in full compliance with our credit agreements."
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