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Tribune Co. postpones newspaper spinoff until 3rd quarter

Tribune Co. has delayed the spinoff of its newspapers until the third quarter.

The Chicago-based media company had planned to separate its broadcasting and publishing operations by the end of this month. The new timeframe was announced in a statement Friday but no reason for the delay was given.

When Tribune Publishing is formed, it will start with $350 million in debt, an increase of $25 million from earlier estimates, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing made late Thursday. The bulk of the debt will go toward paying an expected $275 million dividend to Tribune Co.

Tribune Publishing will take on a $140 million of revolving credit and a total of $50 million in letters of credit when the split happens.

According to the filing, Tribune Publishing also will pay more than $30 million a year in office rent to Tribune Co.

Tribune Co. announced plans last July to spinoff its newspapers into a separate, publicly traded company. Tribune Co. will retain its broadcast operations, including WGN radio and television stations. The new company, Tribune Publishing, will own eight daily newspapers including the Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times.

Tribune Co.’s first-quarter operating profit fell 11 percent compared with a year earlier despite a nearly 21 percent increae in operating revenue. The broadcasting division reported higher operating revenue in the quarter while the publishing division’s revenue was down slightly.

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