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Tribune Publishing begins issuing quarterly dividend with $9 million payout to shareholders

Robert Channick, Chicago Tribune on

Published in Business News

Tribune Publishing announced Thursday it will begin paying a quarterly 25-cent dividend to shareholders, with an initial payout of about $9 million on Dec. 10.

The first dividend will be payable to shareholders of record as of Nov. 25, with plans to pay regularly quarterly dividends "for the foreseeable future," the company said in a regulatory filing.

"The board's decision to institute a regular cash dividend reflects the company's financial strength, flexibility and confidence in its strategic plan," said David Dreier, Tribune Publishing's chairman.

Chicago-based Tribune Publishing, which owns the Chicago Tribune and other daily newspapers, had $56.5 million in unrestricted cash as of Sept. 29, according to its third-quarter earnings report filed last week with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The board's decision to pay a dividend follows Tribune Publishing's Tuesday announcement that it was shutting down Hoy, its Spanish-language newspaper. Hoy, which had dwindled from a daily to a weekly publication, was launched in 2003 to serve Chicago's growing Hispanic population. It will cease publication in print and online Dec. 13, the company said.

Michael Ferro, who stepped down as nonexecutive chairman last year but remains the company's largest shareholder, is set to receive about $2.25 million from the quarterly dividend program. Ferro owns about 9 million shares, or 25.2% of the company, according to regulatory filings.

 

Biotech billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong, Tribune Publishing's second-largest shareholder at about 8.7 million shares, or 24.3% of the company, is set to receive a quarterly dividend payment of about $2.2 million.

In May, Tribune Publishing paid a special cash dividend of $56 million, or $1.50 a share, to shareholders. The media company has been flush with cash and virtually debt free since completing the $500 million sale of the Los Angeles Times and San Diego Union-Tribune to Soon-Shiong in June 2018.

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