Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Tribune is extreme, but more bankruptcies possible

Although Tribune Co. has the distinction of being the first major newspaper publisher to seek bankruptcy protection in this sour economy, it is hardly alone in facing the deadly combination of high debt and declining advertising revenue.

For a sense of who might be next, consider publishers that have put individual papers up for sale or have had trouble meeting their debt contracts.

Analysts said Tuesday that most publishers fall into that category. The exceptions often cited: Gannett Co., whose $4 billion in debt is reasonable for its size even though its revenue has shrunk, and McClatchy Co., which in September bought about two years of flexibility on $2 billion in debt by agreeing to higher interest rates.

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