Chapter 11 proceedings continue

Sam Zell announced his intention to leave the Tribune company after it emerges from Chapter 11 on CNBC last night. “I think when we’re done with the bankruptcy process, I will turn it over to whoever the creditors decide they want to run it, and wish them a lot of good luck, and they should enjoy being in the media industry more than I do,” said the controversial Trib chairman.

Billionaire real estate magnate Zell came to the media conglom from the in 2007, when he orchestrated a leveraged buyout at a price of more than $8 billion, of which Zell provided roughly 4%. The bid included Tribune’s now-infamous employee stock ownership plan (ESOP), which put the burden of most of the debt on Trib pensions and other employee funds. The ESOP resulted in more favorable tax treatment for the deal, which went through less than a year before the company filed for bankruptcy.

Zell maintains that the company “produces a better product in a more efficient fashion” than it did when he took it over three years ago.

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