Tribune Co. Says Not Now, Not Solid No, To Sale Of L.A. Times
The L.A. Times has reported that after a July 19 meeting of the Tribune Company's board of directors, CEO Dennis FitzSimons responded to the latest offers to buy the L.A. Times by local investors by giving, not a straight no as he had before, but by saying essentially, not now.
FitzSimons and the board were responding, according to the story by Jim Rainey and Tom Mulligan, to separate letters from billionaires David Geffen, Eli Broad and Ron Burkle offering again the buy the paper.
FitzSimons was reported to have said, that the board had "unanimously asked me to advise you that at this time, we are not prepared to discuss the transaction described in your letter. If our perspective changes, we will contact you."
Rainey and Mulligan quoted an anonymous source as saying that this reply was viewed as a more hospitable answer to the purchase proposals than the flat no given out earlier.
Here in Ashland, I have not seen the whole article, since the L.A. Times is not sold here, (while the New York Times, with its superb national distribution, is).
But I can recall that Tom Unterman, representing the Chandler members of the Tribune board, had once declared that no sale would be opportune until September, when the family's tax problems with such a sale could be resolved.
So I think there is some hope that a sale might be in the works by this fall. We'll see.
Sale of the Times back to local interests could well halt both further layoffs and circulaton declines at the newspaper, and, despite the Santa Barbara News-Press's bad experience with a local owner, is, in my view, to be devoutly wished.
The possibility of a breakup of the faltering Tribune Co. remains, and so long as that is the case, there is hope a sale will take place.