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Tribune Plans To Emerge From Bankruptcy By May 31

tribune logo.jpgOn Friday, Tribune Co. filed papers with the bankruptcy court in Delaware asking for an extension of the time that the bankrupt media company has to exclusively file a reorganization plan. Tribune said it hopes to extend this period, which is due to expire at the end of this month, in order to file a reorganization plan by the end of March and emerge from bankruptcy by May 31.

In a memo to staffers, obtained by Romanesko, COO Randy Michaels and Executive Vice President Gerry Spector focused on the positives, thanking staffers for their hard work during the restructuring:

“With your help, we have stabilized and repositioned our businesses, exceeding the financial results of most of our newspaper and broadcasting peers. This year we project operating cash flow of approximately $400 million — nearly double our original operating plan.”

The memo also said that, traditionally, the fourth quarter is the strongest for Tribune, and “with your continued hard work, we’re sure this year will be no different.” The memo also advised staff to “Try to tune out the noise and focus on your job.”

Full memo, after the jump

Earlier: Tribune’s Zell: Newspapers Can’t Survive


From: Tribune Communications
Sent: Friday, November 13, 2009 4:34 PM
Subject: Message from Randy Michaels and Gerry Spector/Motions Filed Today

This afternoon, we filed two motions with the court overseeing our Chapter 11 bankruptcy; these motions give us a good opportunity to update you on the restructuring process.

One motion asks the court to extend the period of exclusivity for filing our restructuring plan to March 31, 2010. In plain English, this motion seeks to extend the time during which only we can file a plan. The current period of exclusivity expires at the end of this month.

As the motion states, we have made “substantial progress toward filing a plan of reorganization…” Our goal is to deliver a plan that our creditors can support and to do so as quickly as possible. We continue active discussions with our creditors in this regard. The other motion filed asks the court to hold a status conference on certain matters related to accomplishing this goal.

The exclusivity motion makes it clear that we’ve accomplished a lot as a company. With your help, we have stabilized and repositioned our businesses, exceeding the financial results of most of our newspaper and broadcasting peers. This year we project operating cash flow of approximately $400 million — nearly double our original operating plan.

Last week here in Chicago, we met with the leaders of all of our business units and their top sales executives to share ideas and best practices as we head into the last two months of 2009. It was a very productive meeting. There is some incredibly innovative work being done on the sales side, but we can’t let up — we have to keep pushing, keep working together across all of our properties and markets, and keep looking for new solutions for our advertisers.

Today’s motions will generate some media attention. Try to tune out the noise and focus on your job. The fourth quarter is traditionally the strongest one of the year and, with your continued hard work, we’re sure this year will be no different.

Randy and Gerry

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