Tribune Bankruptcy: Company Files Chapter 11

Media ownership group Tribune Company is filing for bankruptcy. Tribune — owner of eight newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times and the Baltimore Sun, as well as 23 television stations such as KTLA, WGN, and WPIX — officially announced its intent Monday to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

All Tribune properties will continue operating normally during the process, the company says. The Chicago Cubs franchise and Wrigley Field, also owned by Tribune, will not be affected. Tribune has been looking to sell the Cubs franchise since last December.

[Tribune Company’s Bankruptcy Memo From CEO Sam Zell]

The main purpose of the Tribune bankruptcy filing is to deal with the company’s $13 billion debt, executives say. Tribune just went private about one year ago under a deal led by real estate mogul Sam Zell. Much of its debt is attributed to that shift.

Tribune’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing says the company has $7.6 billion in assets and $12.79 billion in liabilities.

Tribune, like many other media ownership companies, has been making cutbacks all year. The Chicago Tribune newspaper announced a fresh round of layoffs just this week, which follow the elimination of 80 jobs a few months ago. Tribune executed a nationwide 2 percent cutback of its workforce in February.

Overall, Tribune employs about 20,000 people, according to its Web site. The company says 74 percent of its revenue comes from publishing and interactive properties, while 26 percent comes from broadcasting and entertainment ventures.

A full list of the Tribune Company’s properties can be found here.

Tribune’s bankruptcy filing had been rumored for some time now. The company reported a $124 million loss for the third quarter of 2008.

Read Sam Zell’s Letter to Employees

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