Tribune Hires Investment Banks to Sell L.A. Times, Newspaper Unit

Los Angeles Times Building - H 2013
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Los Angeles Times Building - H 2013

UPDATED: Evercore, JP Morgan retained six weeks after former Discovery and News Corp. exec Peter Ligouri takes over as CEO.

Six weeks after Tribune Co. hired TV-industry veteran Peter Liguori as its new CEO, the multimedia company has hired two investment banks as reports swirl that it's looking to sell its newspaper unit.

Tribune has hired Evercore and JPMorgan Chase, the company confirms to The Hollywood Reporter. The company owns the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune and a half-dozen other newspapers.

"There is a lot of interest in our newspapers, which we haven’t solicited," Tribune spokesman Gary Weitman tells THR. "Hiring outside financial advisers will help us determine whether that interest is credible, allow us to consider all of our options and fulfill our fiduciary responsibility to our shareholders and employees."

Evercore was also hired by the New York Times Co. to sell the Boston Globe and other assets, as well as handling the sale of Variety.

CNBC reported that Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. is expected to "play a prominent role in discussions." News Corp. had denied that it was exploring a purchase of the L.A. Times.

Tribune's newspaper assets amount to about $623 million of the company's overall $7 billion valuation, Reuters said, citing Tribune's financial adviser Lazard.

STORY: Peter Ligouri Named Tribune Company CEO

Tribune came out of bankruptcy in December and made Liguori -- previously with Discovery Communications, News Corp. and other media companies -- its CEO the following month.

Observers have been speculating that Ligouri's hire indicated the company's newspaper business would be scaled down or sold off while the focus shifted more to its two dozen or so TV assets and its growing online businesses.

Tribune didn't respond to a request for comment.



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