Tribune explores mags sale

Times Mirror publications posted $279 mil in revs for '99

NEW YORK — Acting quickly on the heels of its June 12 acquisition of the Times Mirror Co., the Tribune Co. announced Tuesday that it is exploring a possible sale of Times Mirror Magazines and has retained Merrill Lynch as a financial adviser.

A sale is one of several moves Tribune is considering for the magazine division, made up largely of special-interest and leisure-oriented books, that generated close to $279 million in revenues in 1999, according to Tribune estimates. The group includes Field & Stream, Popular Science, Golf magazine and Boating & Sailing.

“We are intensely focused on our media businesses of broadcasting, publishing and interactive,” said Tribune CEO John W. Madigan. After “taking a hard look at the strategic fit of the magazine group,” he said, “we believe it is appropriate to review strategic alternatives.”

Sources at Tribune would not say what those alternatives might be, but the news came one day after Tribune announced that it had agreed to sell Tribune Education — a publishing arm including Everyday Learning/Creative Publications Group and NTC/Contemporary Publishing Group — to McGraw-Hill for close to $635 million in cash.

“The sale of our education businesses enables us to concentrate financial resources and management talent on aggressive media growth strategy, serving customers through the convergence of broadcasting, publishing and interactive in major markets,” Madigan said at the time.

Among the company’s interactive holdings are news and information sites in 18 of the top 30 U.S. markets.

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