Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Deal Creates Coast-to-Coast Newspaper-TV Empire

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Deal Creates Coast-to-Coast Newspaper-TV Empire

Article excerpt

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Tribune Co. will buy Times Mirror in a $6.3 billion deal that would create a coast-to-coast media empire including the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, 22 television stations and Internet news sites.

With the acquisition, Tribune Co. becomes the nation's third- largest newspaper company after Gannett and Knight Ridder.

The deal ends the newspaper dynasty of Los Angeles' Chandler family, which has controlled the Times since 1882. The Chandlers initiated negotiations with Tribune Co.

It also appears to end a controversial experiment conducted by Times Mirror Chairman and Chief Executive Mark H. Willes to maximize profits by relaxing the traditional separation between news reporting and the business side of the company. Willes said he wasn't told of the buyout talks until two weeks ago and will leave the company once the deal is complete.

Times Mirror decided to sell because of the high price it could fetch in an era of rapid consolidation in which media companies believe that in order to stay profitable they must grow larger, analysts said.

The purchase illustrates Tribune Co.'s strategy of linking newspapers with its existing television operations to create local news and advertising powerhouses.

`'I can't predict what other people are going to do," said Tribune Chairman, President and CEO John W. Madigan. `'But if other people look at the future of the business as we have, they'll see that consolidation is the future.''

With the acquisition, Tribune Co. would own newspapers and TV stations in the nation's three largest media markets, New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, as well as Hartford, Conn.

The new company would own 11 newspapers with total circulation of nearly 3.6 million, including Times Mirror's Newsday on Long Island, The Sun in Baltimore and The Hartford Courant, along with Tribune's The Orlando (Fla.) Sentinel. Among Tribune Co.'s 22 television holdings are superstation WGN-TV in Chicago, WPIX-TV in New York, KTLA-TV in Los Angeles, and WTIC-TV in Hartford -- it claims to reach 75 percent of U.S. households through broadcast or cable TV.

Both companies operate news and information sites on the Internet and Tribune also owns the Chicago Cubs baseball team. …

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