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Media veteran tapped to be Tribune Co. CEO

Media veteran tapped to be Tribune Co. CEO

Media veteran Peter Liguori, a former News Corp and Discovery Communications top executive, has been named chief executive at Tribune Co. following the conglomerate’s exit from bankruptcy.

Liguori was named Thursday to head up the Chicago-based firm which operates several big dailies, including the Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times, and 23 television stations.

The group exited bankruptcy December 31 after four years of court supervision, amid speculation it was preparing to sell off many of its assets, starting with the newspapers.

Bruce Karsh, president and co-founder of Oaktree Capital Management, a Los Angeles-based investment firm, was named chairman on Thursday.

The company also announced that outgoing CEO Eddy Hartenstein will continue to serve as publisher of the Los Angeles Times and CEO of the Los Angeles Times.

“The board is very optimistic about Tribune’s future,” said Karsh.

“The company is well-positioned across its markets and now has a strong balance sheet, significant liquidity and low debt, so there is a lot of opportunity ahead.”

Liguori, who was recently chief operating officer of Discovery Communications, has also headed entertainment for the Fox Broadcasting Company, part of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp.

Liguori previously headed News Corp’s FX Networks.

“Tribune is a great company with an incredible collection of media assets, iconic brands in major markets across the country, tremendous journalism, and very talented people,” said Liguori.

“Collectively, the company’s digital operations, broadcast outlets and newspapers are some of the best in the country. In many ways, Tribune is like a 165-year-old start-up — there is a lot to build upon.”

The reorganization allowed a group of hedge funds and banks based in Los Angeles and New York to take over the media company, which filed for bankruptcy protection in December 2008 after a leveraged buyout left it saddled in debt.

An article last month in the company’s flagship Chicago Tribune said virtually all the media assets are expected to eventually be sold.

Some reports have said Murdoch is interested in purchasing the Chicago newspaper and possibly the Los Angeles Times.

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