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Tribune Company Cleared to Exit Bankruptcy

Tribune Company, the Chicago-based owner of several newspapers and 23 television stations, announced on Friday it has received approval needed to end its four-year bankruptcy proceedings.

“This decision will enable the company to continue moving forward toward emergence from Chapter 11, a process we expect to complete over the course of the next several weeks,” Tribune CEO Eddy Hartenstein said in a statement.

Tribune has cross-ownership of television stations and newspapers in five markets — Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, South Florida and Hartford — under exceptions to a 1975 FCC rule. Federal regulators have granted Tribune a permanent waiver in Chicago and extended waivers in the other four markets, allowing the company to continue cross-ownership.

In a statement, FCC commissioner Ajit Pai said extending the waiver “facilities the company’s exit from bankruptcy,” noting the waivers will be examined under the new cross-ownership rules the FCC is “likely to adopt later this year.”

The Hollywood Reporter notes the reported selection of former Fox Broadcasting entertainment chief Peter Ligouri as the new Tribune CEO “suggests that Tribune Co. will focus on the television side of its business.”

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