Tribune Co. had better get some benefit now from owning both KTLA and the LA Times, as the TV station’s broadcast license expires Dec. 1. According to a story in the Business section of the LA Times, FCC regulations against cross-ownership kick in at that time.
Tribune applied for a renewal, but these things take time. And the new political climate might make this difficult for media congloms. The LAT piece, by Thomas Mulligan and Jim Puzzanghera, quotes an unnamed source:
“The chances of the cross-ownership rules being changed anytime soon just went away with Tuesday’s election,” said one executive who has expressed interest in some Tribune properties. The executive did not want to be identified because of the sensitivity of the subject.
Sensitivity, indeed! Tribune owns Newsday and WPIX in New York, as well as the Chicago Tribune and WGN.
Tribune has said that ownership of newspapers and TV stations in the nation’s three largest markets is integral to its business strategy, but the company is under pressure from investors to raise its share price. The three stations could bring more than $2.5 billion before taxes, and taxes could be another problem:
WGN and WPIX have been with Tribune since 1948, and KTLA has been part of the company since 1985. The low cost basis for the stations could mean that Tribune would have to pay hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes on any sale.
Tribune would be wise to scrap the LA Times/KTLA video segments and work on making KTLA more attractive to potential buyers.
When you go to sell your house, you clean up the place first, right?.