Not sure there’s enough Pepto-Bismol in the world for Gannett to swallow Tribune whole but bits and pieces of the company could be a different matter. Earlier reports that no media companies were interested to the contrary, the Chicago Tribune is reporting that Gannett made a preliminary bid for the entire company — and a trip to Chicago last week. Gannett bought WATL-TV from Tribune earlier this year when the Chicago-based company began shedding “non-core” assets. The two companies also are partners in several online investments including Career Builder.com and Topix.net. Among other media companies — so-called strategic buyers — MediaNews may be interested in some bits but apparently hasn’t entered the process yet.
Tribune: “What Gannett’s strategy would be is unclear. But industry sources noted that Gannett already owns several papers in Florida and would likely be most interested in owning Tribune Co.’s highly profitable papers in Orlando and Ft. Lauderdale.”
WSJ : “A separate auction for radio giant Clear Channel Communications Corp., the nation’s largest operator of radio stations, could affect the outcome of Tribune’s process, given that some private-equity firms, such as Providence Equity Partners and Thomas H. Lee Partners, are involved in bidding for both properties. The outcome of the Clear Channel auction could force some private-equity firms to bow out of bidding for Tribune, which would force the remaining firms to form new alliances, according to several private-equity executives involved in the bidding for Tribune.”