( TRB) stood firm on its publicly announced plan to buy back $2 billion in stock while selling some assets and cutting costs.
In response to a report suggesting the company is considering selling its TV business, and to
the dissent of three board members, the company Thursday reiterated its intentions.
"Tribune's recently announced tender offer was approved by a clear majority of its board of directors as being in the best interests of all shareholders," the company said, in a statement. "As disclosed in our filing with the SEC, the board made this decision after considering a broad range of alternatives and the company is proceeding expeditiously with the tender offer, which will conclude on June 26."
The Wall Street Journal
reported Thursday that a spinoff of the entire broadcasting business was under consideration internally at Tribune. Earlier this week the company sold a TV station in Atlanta to
for $180 million, but the company told analysts last week that it was holding on to its top market properties.
A sale of the company's TV assets would be tantamount to breaking up the company.
Tribune said: "This tender offer allows the company to return value to shareholders who may be seeking some liquidity, and supports our long-term strategy to grow revenue at our newspapers and television stations, expand our interactive businesses and divest non-core assets." Tribune adds that it will continue to decline comment on board discussions.
Last week Tribune, owner of the
Los Angeles Times
and 26 TV stations, said it would buy back shares through a Dutch auction self-tender at $28 to $32.50 a share. Tribune also agreed to buy 10 million shares from the McCormick Tribune Foundation, a 13.5% stakeholder, at the tender offer price and 12 million shares in the open market afterwards. The repurchase is expected to amount to 25% of its common stock and to be paid for with bank debt and bonds.
Tribune shares were up 4% to $31.55 on Thursday morning.