Tribune Takes Fourth-Quarter Hit

Feb 1, 2006  •  Post A Comment

Tribune Co. reported Wednesday that its fourth-quarter profit plunged 38 percent amid a series of charges related to its publishing division and continued advertising weakness at its television operation.

The Chicago-based owner of television stations and newspapers reported a fourth-quarter profit of $134.4 million, down from a year-earlier figure of $216.8 million. Revenue fell 5 percent to $1.4 billion. For the year, Tribune’s profit was off 4 percent to $534 million and revenue was down 2 percent to $5.6 billion.

The company blamed the profit decline on a series of charges booked in the quarter related to the elimination of 900 positions in the publishing division and the shutdown of a printing facility in Los Angeles.

Also weighing on the results was advertising weakness in the broadcasting division, with the television operation posting a 10 percent decline in revenue to $319 million due to ratings challenges at The WB Network and softness in several major advertising categories, including telecom, auto and food categories.

Tribune presently owns a 22 percent stake in The WB Network but will give up that stake once the network shuts down later this summer to make way for the new CW Television Network.