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Tribune Co. Newspapers No Longer Worth a Billion?

Pair of financial advisors testify in bankruptcy court that business now worth $920 million

Is the Tribune Company’s billion-dollar newspaper division no longer worth a billion?

That’s what a pair of Tribune Co. financial advisors testified in bankruptcy court on Friday.

According to a report by ChicagoBreakingBusiness.com, the advisers — Suneel Mandava and John Chachas — said “they had calculated in January that the Chicago-based company’s publishing segment, which includes the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, and six other newspapers, had fallen to a value of around $920 million.”

That figure is significantly less than what a source told TheWrap in January: that both the Times and Tribune were now operating at a profit, and that some analysts believe the Los Angeles-based daily could sell for as much as $1 billion alone.

The advisors estimated the overall value of the Tribune Company at $6.75 billion — but most of that value (roughly $2.5 billion) coming from Tribune Co.’s broadcasting business, including Chicago’s WGN-Ch 9 and the WGN America. The pair valued Tribune Co. investments in the Food Network cable channel, CareerBuilder and several websites at $2.2 billion. The rest ($1.7 billion) is what the company has on hand in cash.

Tribune owns 10 daily newspapers, with the L.A. Times as its most prominent and largest daily, and the flagship Chicago Tribune close behind. Other papers include the Orlando Sentinel and the Hartford Courant.

The value assessment comes as the company’s long, grueling bankruptcy case moves into a second week of confirmation hearings.