Rebellion Erupts at 'Los Angeles Times'
LYNN NEARY, host:
A giant media company's investors are very much alive and unhappy. The board of the Tribune Company, met yesterday to appease them. It's deciding whether to go private or sell itself, as NPR's David Folkenflik reports.
DAVID FOLKENFLIK: Everything's in play now at the Tribune company, which owns the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, and nine other American daily newspapers, along with 26 television stations, and the Chicago Cubs. The company expanded in 2000 by purchasing the L.A. Times and its sister papers, but those newspapers were less profitable, so Tribune slashed costs. The cuts were so severe that the editor and publisher of the L.A. Times mutinied last week, refusing to accept anymore cuts despite orders from their bosses in Chicago. Yet, Tribune stock values still rest far below what it was six years ago, and some investors remain dissatisfied, not least the Chandler family, which had controlled Times Mirror.
Yesterday, Tribune's board unraveled a complicated partnership with the Chandlers, granting additional shares to the family's trusts, while giving the company more control. Tribune also announced it would reconsider how its structured. It could spin off the TV stations and newspapers into separate companies. It could insulate itself from shareholder pressure by going private, or could sell of some or even all of its assets. A decision is expected by year's end. David Folkenflik, NPR News Washington.