Tribune Co. has hired investment bankers to advise the media company on the sale of its newspaper publishing unit, according to a source familiar with the matter.
The company has retained JPMorgan Chase & Co. to oversee a potential sale of the division that includes the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune, according to the person. Evercore Partners, a boutique investment bank, reportedly also has been hired.
There has been widespread speculation that Tribune would attempt to unload the newspaper business to focus on its more promising television operations. Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. is among the possible bidders for the newspaper assets.
The hiring of investment bankers to explore a sale and analyze bids from suitors does not necessarily mean that the assets would be sold.
A Tribune spokesman could not be reached for immediate comment.
Tribune emerged from its four-year bankruptcy at the end of 2012 and appointed broadcasting veteran Peter Liguori as chief executive in January.
The hiring of the investment bankers was first reported by CNBC.
Follow Walter Hamilton on Twitter @LATwalter