The Tribune Co. has hired a financial adviser to help it file for bankruptcy as early as this week, the Wall Street Journal reports. Facing $12 billion in debt and shrinking profits, the owner of the Chicago Cubs and several newspapers has also brought in legal counsel to guide it through bankruptcy court. The Tribune's new adviser, Lazard Ltd., is savvy at debt restructuring and has helped other newspaper companies.
Tribune finances have been shaky since real estate tycoon Sam Zell led a debt-backed agreement to make the company private a year ago. The company must pay $1 billion in interest this year alone, $512 million of which is due in June. The company could avoid bankruptcy by restructuring debt or selling off the Cubs or stakes in other businesses.