A day after the Chandler family breakup demand hit the news, Tribune CEO Dennis FitzSimons sent a rebuttal from independent members of the Tribune board to staffers at his newspapers (and presumably elsewhere.)
Dear Fellow Employee:
Earlier today, Tribune's independent directors responded to the letter the Chandler Trusts made public yesterday. I hope you'll read the complete letter, which will be posted on the TribLink home page shortly. However, since this situation is receiving so much publicity, following is a summary of the most important points.
* First, our independent directors "completely reject" the Chandler Trusts' assertion that the action of Tribune's Board in authorizing the tender offer was "hasty and ill-informed." In fact, the full Board reviewed a broad range of strategic alternatives for the company at numerous meetings over many months.
* Nothing that the Chandler Trusts' representatives proposed in their letter is new. All of the alternatives cited had been duly considered by the full board, in a process that was thorough, timely and well-advised.
* The independent directors reiterated their belief that the tender offer, combined with management’s ability to execute on the strategic plan, is the best means of building value for all shareholders. This includes:* Investing in the rapid growth of our local and national Interactive businesses
* Sustaining the broad reach and revenue of our core metropolitan newspapers and television stations
* Improving operational efficiencies throughout the Company by aggressively managing costs, including $200 million of cost savings over the next two years
* Divesting at least $500 million of non-core assets
* Continuing to serve our local communities with quality journalism
* In conclusion, the independent outside directors said "We continue to stand firmly and united by our decision and the strategic plan outlined by management as part of the recapitalization."
We expect to close the tender offer on June 26, and won't be distracted by current media coverage. With the support of our Board of Directors and with the efforts of Tribune's talented employees, we will successfully navigate the changing media environment.