Oaktree Capital Management of Los Angeles has been confirmed as the new owners of the Tribune Co. of Chicago. Once the judge’s order is set in motion, the Tribune could see an end to bankruptcy proceedings by the end of this year.
The Tribune has been in bankruptcy status for 3 1/2 years and is looking forward to moving its radio broadcast license to the new owners. This will be the last step for the Tribune so that they can move on to other administrative and financial matters that will have to be resolved in order to be free and clear of the bankruptcy cloud.
Oaktree already owns the Los Angeles Times, KTLA-TV Channel 5, WGN television and radio stations along with other media properties.
Financially, the Tribune will also need to make changes in it’s corporate structure and obtain a $1.1 billion debt refinancing relief as well as a $300 million line of credit.
The new ownership group includes Angelo, Gordon & Co. and JP Morgan Chase & Co. As of yet, they are still deciding on plans to fill the board seats and chief executive slot. Right now there doesn’t seem to be a clear plan for how the new investment will be handled.
Because of the complex and contentious nature of the case, legal experts are saying Bankruptcy Judge Kevin J. Carey will likely take weeks to write a formal opinion. If approved, the way would be paved for the Tribune to leave bankruptcy court as early as fourth quarter.