As private equity firms evaluate Tribune Co. and its considerable portfolio of assets, one consideration for potential suitors to weigh is the company’s ownership of newspapers and broadcast operations in Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, New York and Hartford, Conn.
Banned in 1975, cross-ownership has been bounced between courts and regulators in recent years and is up for review by the Federal Communications Commission. Tribune has grandfathered status that allows it to own WGN and the Chicago Tribune in Chicago and waivers or other factors that allow it to operate elsewhere. Although the FCC moved to lift the prohibition in recent years, a shift in the balance of power in Washington in upcoming elections could complicate the review and create problems for companies with call letters and mastheads in one town.
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