Monday, December 8, 2008

Tribune Needs Bankruptcy to Save Business, Zell Says

Sam Zell, who placed Tribune Co. into bankruptcy less than a year after taking the newspaper publisher private, said the filing is “right for the business” and may ultimately save the company.

“Clearly we have to address the cost of distribution, paper, and issues of consolidation,” Zell said in an interview. “We have ideas about how to monetize. We just can’t work on them as well as we’d like under the pressure we’ve had.”

Zell has styled himself as “The Grave Dancer” for his ability to resurrect wayward companies. He took Tribune private last December for $8.3 billion, after advertisers had started to abandon newspapers and broadcast TV in favor of Web sites and cable. The 161-year-old publisher of the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune listed assets of $7.6 billion and debt of $12.9 billion in a Chapter 11 petition filed today in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Delaware.

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