Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Charges Drag Tribune to $4.5 Billion 2Q Loss

Tribune Co. plunged to a $4.53 billion loss in the second quarter after taking a $3.84 billion charge to write down the book value of its newspaper brands.

Tribune's revenue fell 6 percent to $1.11 billion, as newspaper advertising revenue slumped 15 percent. Classified advertising led the decline with a 26 percent drop, as real estate and employment ads contracted.

The company's ad revenue from its Web sites fell 4 percent, also because of lower classified revenues.

Circulation revenue fell 2 percent, with the largest drops coming at its Chicago and Los Angeles papers.

Tribune earned $36.3 million in the year-ago second quarter. The company was taken private in an $8.2 billion buyout led by real estate mogul Sam Zell last December. It still reports results to comply with bondholder agreements because of its massive debt load.

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