WGN America’s Not Off the Table in Potential Tribune Media Selling Spree

“It includes each and every option,” President and CEO Peter Liguori says of “strategic alternatives” exploration

Peter Liguori

Tribune Media boss Peter Liguori squashed any notion that cable channel WGN America would be off the table in a potentially coming company fire sale.

“We’re just looking at our assets,” Ligouri (pictured above) told media analysts on Monday. “We view them as being incredibly valuable, they’re powerful, they’re performing well.”

Unfortunately, no one at his company believes the current stock price is reflecting that. As a result, the board of directors revealed on Monday that it’s looking to possibly sell off certain businesses and assets.

One media analyst interpreted Liguori’s prepared remarks during a follow-up investor event to mean that crown cable jewel WGN wasn’t going anywhere — but the Tribune Media president and chief executive officer clarified that incorrect assumption.

“We’re going on a process … to explore every strategic and financial option with just one simple, clear goal: unlock the value of our stock,” he responded. “So, it includes each and every option.”

Tribune Media is also considering new strategic partnerships, and has hired financial advisors Moelis & Co. and Guggenheim Securities to help figure it all out.

So, why today? Oh, no reason, Liguori said later.

“No better time than now,” he simply explained. “It was not tied to anything specific other than now is the time.”

Earlier on Monday, Tribune Media reported fourth-quarter and full-year 2015 financials, exceeding Wall Street’s earnings and revenue estimates. As a result of all this news, the TRBAA stock price jumped 12 percent right off the bat this morning — that’s about $4 per share for the company.

Truly, there was a lot going on at Tribune Media for an early Monday morning after the Oscars.

Counter to all that juicy potential sales talk, the company shored up its executive team today: Liguori entered into a new two-year employment agreement today; Chandler Bigelow was officially named executive vice president and chief financial officer, removing the interim tag; and General Counsel Eddie Lazarus was tapped chief strategy officer.

The company also unveiled a new $400 million stock repurchase program this morning.