CHICAGO: Management at struggling US media conglomerate Tribune Company has performed a volte face, telling prospective bidders that parts of the business may be available following disappointing offers for the whole.
The publisher of eleven daily newspapers, including the Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times, also own several television stations and is reportedly ready to offer individual assets for sale.
But Tribune says it will keep talking with those private equity groups which have expressed interest in the entire company. The cherry-picking offer could simply be a ploy by the board to flush out higher prices.
Earlier this year Tribune's top executives refused demands for a sell-off or break-up from the company's largest outside shareholders, the Chandler family.
The board, led by ceo Dennis FitzSimons, opted for a $2 billion (€1.56bn; £1.05bn) share buyback and $500 million of asset sales. But pressure for more decisive action grew as Tribune's stock price weakened after the buyback was completed.
Interventionist shareholder Nelson Peltz then stepped into the fray [WARC News: 17-Aug-06] by buying a stake in the company, but has remained on the sidelines - so far.
Data sourced from Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff