Tribune Media to See $424 Million Windfall From Cars.com Sale

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Attention TV producers: today’s probably a good day to pitch execs at Tribune on an ambitious series project, or two.

Tribune Media is poised to realize a $424 million windfall from the sale of its interest in its joint venture with Gannett Co. that housed Cars.com and a handful of other Web properties.

Tribune held a 27.8% stake in Classified Ventures, along with Gannett and three other newspaper congloms: A.H. Belo Corp., McClatchy and Graham Holdings Co.

Gannett bought out its partners for a total of $1.8 billion. Tribune’s share came out to $686 million, with the after-tax windfall to its bottom line expected to be $424 million, the company said Wednesday. Tribune said it would record the gain in the fourth quarter of this year and pay the tax bill in the first quarter of 2015.

Tribune undoubtedly will use some of the coin to help fund its aggressive ramp-up of original series for WGN America. The cabler bowed its first two dramas, “Salem” and “Manhattan,” earlier this year, and has more on the way. “Salem” has been renewed for a sophomore season, and “Manhattan” is expected to be picked up on the strength of the strong critical response to the WWII-era period piece about the development of nuclear weaponry in Los Alamos, N.M.

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