Restructuring turns Trib’s quarter red

Co. posts $138.9 mil loss for the quarter

HOLLYWOOD — Restructuring costs pushed media group Tribune into the red in the third quarter, as slumping advertising at its TV stations and newspapers undermined revenue.

The Los Angeles Times parent posted a $138.9 million loss in the quarter, compared with a $79.2 million profit in the same period last year. Tribune took a $131 million restructuring charge in the latest quarter, mostly for job cuts that it estimates will save $58 million annually.

Operating revenue dropped 7% overall to $1.28 billion, with television off 6% and publishing 8%.

Quarter to underperform

Fourth-quarter profit is expected to underperform forecasts “due to the difficult advertising environment and the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, which resulted in advertising cancellations and higher newsgathering, production and distribution costs,” the Chicago-based company said.

“We have been presented with very significant external challenges,” chairman-CEO John Madigan said. “(But) our first priority since the attacks … has been to keep our readers, viewers and listeners informed.”

Investors seemed to take all the gloomy news in stride. Tribune shares, which have been hovering just above a 52-week low in recent weeks, closed up 10¢ to $31.46 Thursday.

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