Saturday, March 31, 2007

Tribune's Fate Undecided

Tribune Stock Rises On Buyout Anticipation - KCCI Des Moines
Tribune Company stock rose 1.7 percent Friday as investors waited for the media company to announce a possible buyout. Thursday night, Los Angeles billionaires Eli Broad and Ron Burkle submitted a last-minute bid for the owner of the Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times.

Battle over Tribune Co. - The Editors Weblog
Last night, two Los Angeles billionaires put in a last-minute bid for the Tribune Company, outbidding real-estate tycoon Sam Zell and most likely pushing back even further a decision on the company’s fate. The employee stock ownership model, used in both offers to make employees the majority owners, has worked for small companies but has rarely been used for larger ones in the last 20 years.

Big Test for Workers as Owners - Hendersonville News
A sampling of other Tribune employees found cautious optimism after a long period of uncertainty and not a little chaos. “We listen, we wait, and, yeah, maybe we worry a little bit,” said Steve Lopez, a columnist at The Los Angeles Times. “But what could be better? Our work is so good, we’ve got billionaires fighting over us.” But many Tribune employees remain deeply confused, especially regarding what a stock ownership plan might entail. “I can’t even guess,” said Bob Englehart, the editorial cartoonist at The Hartford Courant. “I’m too ignorant to be afraid.”

Billionaire Bingo: Nine More Tribune Questions - Content Bridges
So what will the role of former L.A. Times Publisher Jeff Johnson (shown here, left to right, in happier days with editors Dean Baquet and John Carroll) in a post-sale world be, if Ron Burkle gets the prize? Will Johnson, a once-loyal Tribune exec, who was sacked for impudence in publicly resisting budget cuts by CEO Dennis FitzSimons, play an operational role, and have FitzSimons, even for a day or so, reporting to him?

Tribune's fate undecided - Chicago Tribune
Unable to reach a verdict Friday, Tribune Co.'s independent directors planned to resume deliberations Saturday on whether to accept Chicago billionaire Sam Zell's $33-per-share proposal for the media company or a rival 11th-hour offer from Los Angeles billionaires Eli Broad and Ron Burkle worth $34 a share, sources said.A meeting of the full Tribune board is scheduled for Sunday, when a final decision could be voted on.

Tribune said to still favor Zell's buyout bid - Los Angeles Times
Tribune Co. continued to favor an acquisition proposal by real estate mogul Sam Zell, but a special committee of directors was asking questions Friday about a competing bid by Los Angeles billionaires Ron Burkle and Eli Broad.The media conglomerate had hoped to bring an end to a torturous six-month review of alternatives by its self-imposed deadline of today. The talks are likely to continue into Sunday, however, in part because of the time needed to consider the 11th-hour counteroffer Burkle and Broad submitted Thursday.

Tribune Co. may choose suitor on Sunday - MarketWatch
The fate of Tribune Co. may be decided Sunday, according to a report in the Chicago Tribune Saturday. The report said that deliberations Saturday on the competing bids could result in a vote at a meeting of Tribune Co.'s full board on Sunday. Shares of Tribune (
TRB) ended the Friday higher by another 58 cents, or 1.8%, at $32.11. Over the last two weeks, Tribune shares have climbed more than 10% in anticipation the parent of the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times and various media properties could have a new owner.

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