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Last Updated: Friday, 19 January 2007, 12:40 GMT
'Bid interest' in LA Times owner
Chicago Tribune vending machine
Tribune has cut nearly 1,500 jobs in the last three years
The owner of the Los Angeles Times may soon be targeted by a bidding war, media speculation suggests.

Tribune has reportedly been approached by the Chandler family, former owners of the paper, about an offer.

Two billionaire businessmen and private equity firm Carlyle Group are also said to be interested in buying all or part of its print and TV business.

The reports come as the US newspaper sector is suffering from falling sales and advertising revenues.

Online threat

Publishers have struggled to react as classified advertising, the bedrock of their business, has gradually migrated to the internet.

These problems have led to a wave of consolidation. Recently Knight Ridder, publisher of the Miami Herald and Philadelphia Inquirer, was bought for $4.5bn last year by rival McClatchy.

Los Angeles Times
Chicago Tribune
Baltimore Sun
Orlando Sentinel
Hartford Courant

Tribune launched a strategic review of its business last year, which could result in the sale of the entire company or its break-up.

According to media reports, Chandler Trusts has made a $7.6bn (3.85bn) offer to buy Tribune's newspaper assets such as the Chicago Tribune and the Baltimore Sun.

In contrast, the Wall Street Journal reported that Carlyle Group is interested in buying the firm's 25 TV stations, which have been valued at $4bn by analysts.

Entrepreneurs Eli Broad and Ron Burkle are also interested in investing in the business, Reuters reported.

Prestige value

Analysts said the interest shown in Tribune was surprising given the sector's recent struggles but added that newspaper ownership still carried with it significant prestige and social kudos.

"We do not feel the board will find either of these proposals very compelling, suggesting it may pursue further negotiations to extract more value," said Dave Novosel, from research firm Gimme Credit.

The Chandler family sold the Los Angeles Times and other papers to Tribune for $8.3bn in 2000.

Tribune also owns the Chicago Cubs baseball team.

Knight Ridder bought for $4.5bn
13 Mar 06 |  Business

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