Tuesday, Dec. 08, 2009

Tribune's Tribulations

The "transaction from hell" finally got there — if that's what you call bankruptcy court — in June, when the Tribune Co., which owns the Chicago Tribune as well as the Los Angeles Times and 23 local TV stations, crumpled under the weight of $13 billion in debt and the collapsing newspaper industry. For Sam Zell, who led a leveraged buyout of the company in 2007, it was an unusually flawed performance. For Tribune's employees, whose employee stock-ownership plan underwrote the debt, it was a disaster. For the publishing industry, it was just another signpost in a horrific year.