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Tribune Co. swings to $121.6 million loss in 3Q

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[November 11, 2008]  CHICAGO (AP) -- Tribune Co., owner of the Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune, other newspapers and the Chicago Cubs and Wrigley Field, said Monday it swung to a loss of $121.6 million for the third quarter as newspaper advertising revenue fell.

The privately held company's net income in the same quarter a year earlier was $152.8 million. Revenue fell 10.5 percent to $1.04 billion, from $1.16 billion a year ago, the company said.

"We are operating in an exceptionally difficult financial and economic environment," Chief Executive Sam Zell said in a statement. "The newspaper industry continues to see extraordinary declines in ad revenues, and Tribune is no exception."

Publishing revenue fell 13 percent to $654 million, as advertising revenue dropped 19 percent, and total paid circulation fell 7 percent from a year ago to 2.2 million from Monday to Friday.

Revenue from the broadcasting division, which includes 23 TV stations, fell 8.3 percent to $264.4 million from $288.3 million a year ago.

The company was taken private last December in an $8.2 billion buyout led by real estate mogul Sam Zell. It still must report its results to comply with bondholder agreements.

Tribune said its debt load increased to $11.8 billion at the end of the third quarter, up from $9.4 billion a year ago.

The company is looking to sell part of all of the Cubs baseball team and other sports properties to help pay down its debt.

Tribune also has been considering selling its iconic headquarters building in Chicago, called Tribune Tower, and the headquarters of the Los Angeles Times, known as Times Mirror Square.

[Associated Press]

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.




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