Tribune Co. reported a big first-quarter profit, thanks to a mammoth tax gain the Chicago media concern recorded in connection with the leveraged buyout by which it went private at the end of 2007, the Chicago Tribune reports.


Without that artificial boost from the tax change, the company swung to a loss, as interest payments soared to service Tribune's heavy load of buyout-related debt.


Tribune's publishing operation saw an 11 percent slump in revenue, and Chairman and Chief Executive Sam Zell noted "print ad revenues continue to be challenged by the weak economy's impact on real estate and classified advertising." Operating results at the company's broadcast group, he said, "are notably more stable."


In the latest quarter, Tribune's revenue declined 7.8 percent, to $1.11 billion from $1.21 billion a year earlier.

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