- Murdoch wrote ``big Wall Street firm'' would buy Tribune
- Tribune: ``Not engaged in discussions or a process to sell''
Tribune Publishing Co., owner of the Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune, rose almost 10 percent Monday after media magnate Rupert Murdoch tweeted that the company may be sold.
Murdoch, whose News Corp. owns the Wall Street Journal and New York Post, tweeted on Friday that he’d received “strong word” that Tribune would be bought by a big Wall Street firm and that the L.A. Times would “go to philanthropist Eli Broad and local group.” Murdoch also said that he didn’t bid on the company and had “no interest.”
In a memo to employees Monday, Tribune Publishing said it “is not engaged in discussions or a process to sell the company” and “remains committed to its strategy and transformation plan.”
Even with the company’s assurance, Tribune shares rose on speculation of a possible sale. The stock climbed 9.6 percent to $10.18 at the close in New York. It has declined 56 percent this year.
It has been a tumultuous year for the company. In September, Tribune fired Los Angeles Times Publisher Austin Beutner after little more than a year on the job, replacing him with Timothy Ryan, an executive from the Baltimore Sun.
This summer, Broad, a Los Angeles billionaire, made an overture to buy the newspaper and the San Diego Union-Tribune, according to a person with knowledge of the matter. Broad and Beutner had previously teamed up in a bid to buy the Times.
Tribune’s newspaper unit was spun off last year from its TV business, now called Tribune Media Co. In May, Tribune Publishing acquired the San Diego Union-Tribune and nine community weeklies and related digital properties.