Tribune Publishing could be worth $635 million: analyst

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Tribune Publishing Co. could have a market value of $635 million when it is spun off from Chicago-based Tribune Co.

Tribune Publishing, which will own eight newspapers including the Chicago Tribune, is expected to be spun off Aug 4. The company’s shares are projected to begin trading Aug. 5 on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol TPUB.

Shares of the newspaper company are likely to trade for between $22 and $28 a share, CRT Capital Group analyst Lance Vitanaza wrote in a report cited by the Chicago Tribune. With plans to issue 25.4 million shares, Tribune Publishing would have a market value of between about $558 million and $712 million.

Tribune Publishing’s value is less than 10 percent of Tribune Co., which is keeping the radio and television operations and real estate holdings. Tribune Co. will change its name to Tribune Media Co. when the spinoff is completed.

Vitanza sees potential upside for Tribune Publishing as its brings the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times and six other daily newspapers under one corporate umbrella, accelerating the transition from print to digital platforms.

In his report, Vitanaza said Tribune Publishing will reduce compensation costs by $65 million this year.

The new company will start with about $350 million in debt, most of it going to pay a $275 million cash dividend to Tribune Co. The newspaper company will take on a $140 million of revolving credit and a total of $50 million in letters of credit when the split happens. Tribune Publishing also will pay more than $30 million a year in office rent to Tribune Media Co.

Tribune Co. announced plans a year ago to spin off its newspapers.

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