Tribune Media is preparing to file the necessary documents to move its stock to a major stock exchange, CEO Peter Liguori said Thursday.
The company is currently publicly traded, but the stock is only listed on the so-called Over-the-Counter Bulletin Board for smaller, less broadly followed stocks. That makes the stock less widely traded and covered by analysts.
“It is something that we have to address,” Liguori told the Nomura Digital Media Conference in New York. “We do know that there is tremendous investor interest.”
He said his team was in the process of completing the necessary SEC Form 10 that must be filed with the Security and Exchange Commission. “If we were to list, it would open us up to more investors,” Liguori said. “Hopefully we will be listing sooner than later.”
Since exiting bankruptcy in Jan. 2013, Tribune hasn’t drawn as much investor interest as observers say it would get if its stock was listed on a major exchange, which attract more investors and have stricter governance rules. Especially after the recent separation of Tribune Media and Tribune Publishing, the parent of the Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune, Wall Street observers see it ready to step into the investor spotlight again.
Liguori on Thursday was also asked if he would consider selling Tribune Media’s 31 percent stake in the Food Network, which is majority-owned by Scripps Networks Interactive.
“It is very nice having those dividends,” the Tribune CEO told the Nomura conference. “The network is going great guns. Having that somewhat predictable income coming in, especially when you are in investment mode” is positive. But he added that selling it “is all a matter of price.”
Liguori at the conference also touted the company’s growing retransmission consent fees and said management is continuing to remake WGN America into a cable network. There is “still big opportunity” for it, he said, touting the success of original drama Salem.