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A Comparison of the Challenges and Opportunities in the Tribune Publishing-Time Inc. Spinoffs

From illustrious pasts to unwanted assets

Tribune Publishing and Time Inc. are set to spinoff as independent companies later this year, following News Corp's separation from Rupert Murdoch's media empire last year. Both have illustrious pasts, but today they're unwanted assets, facing low morale and unfavorable publishing industry trends with the shift to digital. Below, a comparison of their challenges and opportunities.

Comedown Comedown

Q3 2013 publishing revenue at its eight newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune, declined 4 percent YOY to $446 million, causing it to ax nearly 700 newspaper employees in November, or about 6 percent.

2013 declined 2 percent YOY to $3.4 billion on lower ad, circ revenue, leading it to strip out about 500, or 6 percent of workforce this year. Three CEO changes in three years.
Debt
Undisclosed amount of debt. Will have to pay $325 million dividend, plus rent, to former parent, Tribune Co.
Debt
Will start out with $1.3 billion in debt; may have to find cheaper digs outside Time & Life Building.
EO Pedigree
While at Meredith Corp., Griffin was credited with expanding its magazines into marketing services. No direct newspaper experience but consulted for Tribune Co. the past year. MBA from Yale.
CEO Pedigree
Ripp served as CFO of Time Inc., Time Warner and AOL over a 20-year period. Baruch MBA.
Endgame?
L.A. Times sold, becomes latest paper to end up as rich guy’s toy.
Endgame?
Lifestyle titles like Southern Progress, Cooking Light are sold to longtime suitor Meredith Corp. Cash cow People sold, paying off debt, generating capital to further invest in digital.

 

 

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