Monday, December 8, 2008

Tribune Co. Goes Belly Up

Tribune Co. Goes Belly Up: Will the Huffington Post Step Up to the Plate?

Chicago -- In these hard times, when it is de rigeur to look for a bailout like GM or go bankrupt, everybody seems to be running on empty. With a firm insider grip on a tight money supply, a cadre of eastward bound Silicon Valley venture capitalists are moving investments into the Heartland and the Rusbelt.

Cannonfire chronicle’s Oak Investment Partners recent capital infusion into Arianna Huffington’s internet media playground, raising speculation as to the new media maven’s timing to set up shop in Chicago (Not to mention the L.A. Times is a stone’s throw from Brentwood.) In addition, Carries Nation today updates the State of Michigan’s relationship with GM and venture capitalist firm Kleiner Perkins et al regarding their mutual investments.

The Chicago Cubs and Wrigley Field may soon be orphaned and found standing in the Windy City’s soup lines looking for a sugar daddy just in time for the Holidays. The first major newspaper publisher to seek bankruptcy protection since the
Internet began siphoning readers from traditional outlets, announced today that the media conglomerate is seeking bankruptcy protection.

The Tribune owns the Chicago Cubs baseball franchise, as well as the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Sun of Baltimore, The Hartford (Conn.) Courant, six other daily newspapers and 23 television stations.

“Most of the company's debt comes from the complex transaction in which the company was taken private, with employee ownership, by real estate mogul Sam Zell last year. To make a payment this year, Tribune sold the Long Island daily Newsday to Cablevision Systems Corp. for $650 million. To generate additional cash, the Chicago-based company has been looking to sell the Cubs, Chicago's storied Wrigley Field and the company's 25 percent stake in a regional sports cable channel. But a tight credit market has made it tougher for potential buyers to obtain loans.”

With credit tightening up, potential suitors for the Chicago Tribune may be on short order. Perhaps KP can buzz Doha’s Qatar Investment Authority? QIA and KP are the lead investors in Fisker Automotive, who just pulled into Pontiac, MI (see Carries Nation article link above). But with the Huffington Post up to $40 million in raised capital, giving it an estimated valuation of $100 million, says a report in (see Cannonfire article link above), could all roads be leading to a flat, small, global, hot and gaseous world of ruling elites (like Tom Friedman wills) after all?


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