Chicago Tribune signage is displayed on the side of the Tribune Tower in Chicago, Illinois, U.S. August 6, 2015.
Photograph by Christopher Dilts — Bloomberg via Getty Images
By John Kell
November 30, 2015

Tribune Publishing has rebuffed a rumor floated by media mogul Rupert Murdoch that the newspaper publisher would be sold to a Wall Street firm, saying it hadn’t engaged in any sale discussions.

“While our policy is not to comment on rumors, given the source of this speculation and the fact that it has received considerable public attention, the company believes a statement to employees is warranted,” the Tribune said in a message it e-mailed to employees. Tribune says it wouldn’t comment beyond the short statement it shared in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing.

Rumors of a potential deal sent Tribune’s (TPUB) shares up on Monday morning.

Murdoch, chairman of Wall Street Journal and New York Post publisher News Corp, sent out a tweet that speculated rival Tribune Publishing could be sold to a “big Wall St firm.” The full tweet is here:

Tribune, which publishes the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, says it remained focused on its own plan to pivot from a print-focused brand to a more digital company. That’s a transformation that many print publishers are attempting to employ as ad dollars slump for print in favor of online channels. While newspaper and magazine publishers have reported higher ad sales for their digital businesses, the growth for that small segment of their businesses hasn’t fully offset the drop in print ad revenue. Tribune’s third-quarter results, however, held up well as revenue totaled $404 million, up slightly from the prior-year quarter.

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