Tribune Co. picks new name ahead of spinoff

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Tribune Co. is asking shareholders to change the company’s name to Tribune Media Co. as it prepares to spin off its newspaper operations.

After the spinoff, Tribune Media will own the broadcasting operations and Tribune Publishing Co. will own the newspapers.

Chicago-based Tribune Co. has scheduled a shareholders meeting for July 14 in Los Angeles for a vote on the name change, election of two board members, and increases in the number authorized shares. Directors up for election are entertainment lawyer Craig A. Jacobson, a founding partner at thelaw firm of Hansen, Jacobson, Teller, Hoberman, Newman, Warren, Richman, Rush & Kaller LLP, and Laura R. Walker, president and CEO of New York Public Radio.

The company name change was first reported by Crain’s Chicago Business.

Tribune Co. said last month it expects to split into two companies during the third quarter, with some reports indicating it could happen in early August.

The spinoff had been expected to happened in June, but Tribune Co. on June 13 announced the new timeframe but gave no reason for the delay.

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When Tribune Publishing is formed, it will start with $350 million in debt, with a bulk of it being paid as a $275 million dividend to Tribune Media 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. 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 into a separate, publicly traded company. Tribune Media 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 increase 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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