A US judge has tentatively approved the reorganization plan of Tribune Co., allowing the owner of the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times and other newspapers, to emerge from bankruptcy.
US bankruptcy judge Kevin Carey said in an opinion Friday that the final plan is still "subject to submission of final revisions," after which he would confirm the plan.
The plan would allow 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.
The Chicago Tribune, the company's flagship newspaper, quoted sources as saying the plan's final revisions may be submitted and approved later this week.
The plan would allow the company to transfer its TV and radio broadcast licenses to the new owners, led by Oaktree Capital Management, Angelo Gordon & Co. and JPMorgan Chase & Co.
The daily said some creditors plan to appeal the decision, which could delay the reorganization of a company once seen as one of the leading US media groups.
It said the new owners are exploring the possibility of selling some of the newspapers, whose value has dropped sharply, to concentrate on other media assets.
According to company data, the newspaper group has shrunk in value to roughly $623 million, while its 23 television stations are worth $2.9 billion.
It has some $2 billion in equity in other assets including the Food Network and CareerBuilder.com.
Sam Zell, a Chicago real estate titan, led an $8 billion leveraged buyout of the Tribune Co. in 2007 and the company declared bankruptcy the next year, with $13 billion in debt.
It sold the Chicago Cubs baseball franchise and its iconic stadium, Wrigley Field, in 2009.