Rep. Henry Waxman is taking his L.A. Times crusade to another level.
On Wednesday, Waxman said his staff met with executives from L.A. Times' parent company, Tribune Co. The discussions centered around Tribune's plans to spin-off its newspapers into a separate business. Waxman is concerned the terms of the spin-off may not be in the best interests of the general public, as well as the viability of the L.A. Times and other newspapers.
“I am better informed about the transaction as a result of the meeting, but my concern about the fate of the Los Angeles Times was not alleviated," Waxman said in a statement. He said Tribune “stressed their view that the company is acting in the best interest of its shareholders.”
Now, Waxman said he's seeking "a personal meeting" with Tribune's CEO, Peter Liguori.
Today's meeting was between the Energy and Commerce Committee staff and Tribune's general counsel and CFO.
Waxman said in a statement the purpose of the meeting was to learn more about the terms of Tribune's plans to spin-off its newspapers into a separate business. Waxman had previously said he was troubled by terms that would require the newspapers to pay rent on the buildings its staffs currently operate in. He was also concerned the spin-off would need to pay a cash dividend to Tribune through debt financing.
Tribune said in a statement that they "share the Congressman's commitment" to the L.A. Times. The company said the spin-off, called Tribune Publishing, "is on strong financial footing and well-positioned for continued success as a stand-alone business."
A spokesman for the Tribune confirmed that Liguori would be willing to meet with Waxman.
A request to interview Waxman was not immediately returned.