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The Tribune Co., which owns The Baltimore Sun and seven other major daily newspapers, may file for bankruptcy protection as soon as this week, The Wall Street Journal, relying on unnamed sources, reported Sunday. The Chicago-based media conglomerate has been in talks with creditors to restructure its debt, and it has hired the investment bank Lazard Ltd. and the law firm Sidley Austin to advise it, the Journal reported.


The story, walled behind a pay site, says Tribune may not have the cash flow to make its billion-dollar interest payment due this year--no surprise.

Here's a detail you probably didn't know:

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The story goes on to say that Trib has options outside of the bankruptcy process. The Cubs baseball team has been for sale all year, along with its stadium. But the credit crisis has made asset sales problematic; then there's the matter of that debt-to-profit covenant.

The

Journal

's piece saves the irony for the very last line: "Selling off more newspapers may not be a viable alternative because buyers are scarce and Tribune may be better off holding onto the profits from its papers." What? The papers are profitable?!

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