Tribune

Chicago

Revenue: $5.25 billion

Profits: $111 million

After more than a year of suffering through a stubborn advertising drought that has crippled huge swaths of the media industry, Chicago-based publishing and media giant the Tribune Co. has begun to see the first signs of light on the horizon.

Besides its newspapers, including the Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times, it holds more than 20 television stations, four radio stations, and minority stakes in the WB Network and cable outlet the Food Network. Just to cover its bases, it also picked up the Chicago Cubs baseball club.

Exposure to all those ad-supported businesses proved to be a liability when the bottom started falling out of the market nearly two years ago. But last month, the company’s earnings climbed by more than 57% over the same period a year ago to $114 million — more than the company made in the whole of 2001.

The solid second-quarter results handily topped Wall Street’s estimates, and prompted many publishing analysts to fatten up their estimates for the ad markets for the rest of 2002.

They also did wonders for the Tribune Co.’s stock price: After a sharp dip early this summer, the shares have rebounded to almost $40, leading the publishing pack.

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