As we enter a new week that promises to bring with it something of a pre-holiday slowdown for investors, the action continues unabated at Tribune
Last week, it was widely reported that the Chandler family, the largest Tribune shareholders, with 20% of total outstanding shares, was said to be preparing to submit a buyout offer of its own. The Chandlers had begun pushing for a restructuring of the company as early as last summer. Subsequent indications of interest have come from private-equity firms, although their levels of interest in the company apparently have been at lower levels. There also have been indications of interest from giant newspaper publisher Gannett
But lest the level of interest surrounding the company wane, it also was reported late last week that Los Angeles-based music mogul David Geffen had submitted a $2 billion cash bid for the company's Los Angeles Times newspaper. Geffen has been named among at least a trio of billionaires interested in acquiring the paper. Others mentioned have included philanthropist and former homebuilder Eli Broad and supermarket investor Ron Burkle. Similar happenings are afoot with a New York Times-owned paper in Boston, where a group of investors led by former General Electric CEO Jack Welch appears to retain an interest in acquiring the Globe, that city's largest newspaper.
For now, however, things are relatively quiet at New York Times, where the primary news in the past week involved the signing of a new four-year contract at the Globe and the naming of James Follo as the Times' new CFO. Follo will join the Times from his position as CFO of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia
This may be fun stuff to watch, given that it affects some of America's best-known media brands. But with advertising revenues declining at many of the nation's major daily newspapers, it seems to me that the publishers are a good group for Foolish investors to avoid for at least the next several months.
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Fool contributor David Lee Smith does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned. He welcomes your comments and questions.