The Tribune Co. is at risk for missing interest payments on part of the $13-billion debt that will result from the sale to real estate baron Sam Zell, Bloomberg reports. The prediction is based on trading in the company's credit-default swaps; at $77,000 per $10 million in debt, they indicate a 50% risk of default. That's up from 32% in May, when the deal was set in motion.
There's plenty to make investors queasy: the company's revenue is down 5.6% for the year, and its 11 newspapers are in a deepening advertising slump. The swap prices put the Tribune debt as the fourth-riskiest of 1,200 companies monitored; investors consider Trib even more likely to default on its bonds than the floundering Ford.