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Moody's downgrades Tribune

Moody's on Dec. 20 downgraded its corporate family rating on Tribune Media Co. to B1 from Ba3.

The rating agency also downgraded the company's probability of default rating to B1-PD from Ba3-PD, along with downgrading Tribune's secured credit facilities to Ba3 from Ba2 and senior unsecured 5.875% notes to B3 from B2. The ratings action is based on Moody's opinion that the company's debt repayment and delevering is slower than expected.

In spite of the company's financial capacity to significantly improve leverage, over the last two years the company has maintained a leverage above 6x, Moody's added. Moody's holds that the financial policy of the management is tolerant of "relatively high leverage near 6x but [the agency expects] the ratio to fall to at least 5.75x over the next 12-18 months following the sale of noncore assets."

The agency affirmed Tribune's SGL-1 speculative-grade liquidity rating. The outlook on the company is stable.