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15:35 ET WRAP: TRIBUNE Q3 BEATS STREET, TO SELL TIMES MIRROR UNIT


By Georg Szalai, BridgeNews New York--Oct. 20--Tribune Co., the No. 3 newspaper publishing company in the United States, said Friday that third-quarter earnings came in ahead of expectations, driven by record results in broadcasting and online operations, and announced it will sell its Times Mirror Magazines unit to Time Warner Inc. for $475 million. Profit from continuing operations was 22 cents per share, a penny above the Wall Street consensus estimate, but 31.2% below the 32 cents a share posted a year ago, as Tribune's recent acquisition of the Times Mirror Co. diluted bottom-line results for the quarter by 12 cents a share. Operating revenues grew 89% year-over-year to $1.36 billion from $717.4 million last year, while on a pro-forma basis, revenues edged up 3% year-over-year to $1.4 billion from $1.3 billion. Tribune's pro-forma results assume that the company's acquisition of Times Mirror Co., which closed earlier this year, occurred at the beginning of 1999. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, or EBITDA, came in at $351 million based on continuing operations during the third quarter, up 61.7% from $217 million last year. Pro-forma EBITDA grew 4% to $351 million from $338 million year-over-year.

Tribune's stronger-than-expected third-quarter results were driven by record results at the company's broadcasting unit and solid double-digit revenue gains at Tribune Interactive, its online operations. In a statement, Tribune Chairman, President and Chief Executive John Madigan expressed optimism about his company's future growth. "With our valuable media businesses and financial strength, Tribune is well positioned for growth," he said. For the fourth quarter, Tribune continues to be comfortable with an earnings-per-share range of 35 cents to 40 cents a share from continuing operations, excluding non-operating items, the company said. The current analysts' consensus estimate lies at 37 cents per share, as polled by First Call Corp. For the full year, Tribune expects profits to come in at between $1.30 and $1.35 per share. The First Call projection is for $1.30 per share. Tribune's Broadcasting and Entertainment unit, which was not affected by the Times Mirror acquisition, saw revenues reach $365 million, up 7% from the year-ago result of $341 million. The unit's operating profit rose 4% to a third-quarter record of $101 million. Television revenue grew 10% to $293 million. Tribune's publishing division saw its third-quarter pro forma revenues edge up 1% to $982 million from $973 million, while pro forma operating profit fell to $164 million from $171 million on higher newsprint prices. The company's interactive unit, which runs its online operations, reported that third-quarter revenues more than doubled year-over-year to $13 million from $6 million. Operating losses at the unit widened to $11 million from $8 million. On Friday, Tribune also announced it has reached an agreement with entertainment giant Time Warner Inc.'s Time Inc. publishing unit for the purchase of Times Mirror Magazines, a Tribune unit that publishes special interest and leisure-oriented magazines. Tribune will sell Times Mirror Magazines to Time Inc. for $475 million in cash, a price above most observers' expectations and, according to a report in Friday's edition of The Wall Street Journal, above the bids from other publishing companies, some of which valued the unit at close to $350 million. Chicago-based Tribune has broadcasting interests that include 22 television stations, TV programming unit Tribune Entertainment and a 25% stake in the WB network. In addition, Tribune owns the Chicago Cubs baseball team. Shares of Tribune fell 62 cents to $35.81 in morning trade on the New York Stock Exchange. End

[slug: TRIBUNE-EARNS]

The Bridge ID for this story is 05971





(c) Copyright 2000 FWN


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17:50 ET HONEYWELL CONFIRMS THAT UTC HAS TERMINATED MERGER DISCUSSIONS; HONEYWELL CONSIDERING ALTERNATIVE PROPOSALS
MORRIS TOWNSHIP, N.J., Oct 20, 2000 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Honeywell (NYSE: HON) today confirmed that United Technologies has terminated its merger discussions with Honeywell, and that Honeywell is considering alternative proposals. Full Story

17:50 ET ERICSSON SHARES SLASHED AFTER PROFIT WARNING
Oct 20, 2000 (Tech Web - CMP via COMTEX) -- Ericsson, the world's third-largest handset maker, on Friday reported earnings that were in line with estimates, but lowered its growth forecasts for the fourth quarter and 2001, sending its stock reeling. Full Story

17:50 ET WRAP: COCA-COLA BEATS Q3 EARNINGS FORECASTS AS SALES VOLUMES GROW
By Tim Todd, BridgeNews Kansas City--Oct. 20--Soft-drink giant Coca-Cola Co. earned more than analysts expected in the third quarter, the company said Friday, as growing sales volumes overseas more than made up for flat sales in North America. The world's largest soft-drink maker reported operating profit of Full Story

17:50 ET WRAP: ANTI-CHOLESTEROL DRUG ZOCOR HELPS MERCK BEAT PROFIT FORECASTS ...
(Update1 (adds closing share price) Full Story

17:50 ET WRAP: TRIBUNE Q3 BEATS STREET, TO SELL TIMES MIRROR UNIT (UPDATE1)
(adds closing share price) By Georg Szalai, BridgeNews New York--Oct. 20--Tribune Co., the No. 3 newspaper publishing company in the United States, said Friday that third-quarter earnings Full Story

15:35 ET UTC TERMINATES MERGER DISCUSSION WITH HONEYWELL
HARTFORD, Conn., Oct 20, 2000 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- United Technologies Corp. (NYSE: UTX) announced that Honeywell International, Inc. has advised United Technologies that it is considering an alternative merger proposal received this morning. United Technologies has terminated its merger discussions Full Story

15:35 ET WRAP: ANTI-CHOLESTEROL DRUG ZOCOR HELPS MERCK BEAT Q3 PROFIT FORECASTS
By BridgeNews New York--Oct. 20--Strong sales of the anti-cholesterol drug Zocor and the arthritis medicine Vioxx helped Merck & Co. Inc. surprise investors with third-quarter earnings per share nearly 7% higher than analysts expected. The Whitehouse Station, N.J.-based company said Friday that earnings Full Story




 
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