Tribune Said To Be Interested in Zell’s Offer


Tribune Co. could accept real estate billionaire Sam Zell's $8 billion takeover offer by the end of the week, according to an unconfirmed report Tuesday by Bloomberg.

Citing unnamed sources, the news service said an agreement is likely by Tribune's self-imposed deadline of March 31 but also emphasized that no decision has been made yet. Zell has offered $33 a share, which is 6.8%  above Monday’s closing price.

Earlier in the week, California billionaires Ron Burkle and Eli Broad had reportedly expressed interest in submitting another bid along the same lines as Zell's. The company also has its own plan to reorganize following the six-month-long auction process that has frustrated shareholders.

Zell’s offer, for all of Tribune’s assets including its TV stations, centers on the creation of a tax-friendly employee stock ownership plan, which would help finance billions of dollars of debt needed for the acquisition.

If Tribune accepts Zell's proposal, it would be rid of the Chandler family, whose discontent led to the auction process. It had also submitted a bid, which failed to generate much excitement.