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Debt-Saddled Tribune Co. Files for Bankruptcy ProtectionBy Frank AhrensWashington Post Staff Writer Tuesday, December 9, 2008; Page D01 Media giant Tribune Co. yesterday became the first major newspaper or chain in several decades to enter Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, as the debt-saddled company fights sharply dropping advertising revenue and an ongoing recession. This StoryThe L.A. Times's Human Wrecking BallDebt-Saddled Tribune Co. Files for Bankruptcy ProtectionThe move will allow Tribune to stay in business while it seeks better terms from its creditors. The company stressed that all of its businesses, which include eight major daily newspapers and 23 television stations, will continue their day-to-day operations while Tribune restructures its debt. According to Tribune's bankruptcy filing in a Delaware court yesterday, the company has $12.9 billion in debt and $7.6 billion in assets. Tribune's largest creditor is J.P. Morgan Chase, which is owed $8.6 billion. Merrill Lynch is second, at $1.6 billion, and Deutsche Bank is third, at $900 million. Chicago-based Tribune owns properties in most of the nation's largest cities. Its holdings include the Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times; cable television superstation WGN in Chicago; the Baltimore Sun; and WDCW-50 in Washington, a CW affiliate. The company also owns Major League Baseball's Chicago Cubs and Wrigley Field, which are for sale and outside of bankruptcy protection. Real estate mogul Sam Zell engineered an employee-owned transition of Tribune to private status in December 2007 with $8.2 billion in new loans, layering on top of the $5 billion in debt already being carried by the company. Even then, Tribune was reporting declining ad revenue and newspaper circulation. .............
NYT is in trouble, too.