The Chicago Tribune calls it an "epic corporate drama" that ends with the paper's parent company — owner of the Los Angeles Times and KTLA — being taken private by Chicago's "most iconoclastic entrepreneur." In the end, the Tribune Company board sided with the concept of local ownership, kind of ironic given the criticisms here over its stewardship of the Times. Stockholders will receive $34 a share, same as L.A. billionaires Eli Broad and Ron Burkle offered, and Zell will invest $315 million. Zell will become chairman but Tribune CEO Dennis FitzSimons and his management will remain. The Chandler family representatives abstained from the board vote but apparently plan to support the transaction. A Tribune press release says the company will sell the Chicago Cubs after this baseball season. Reports the New York Times: "[Zell] has also said that he would not break up the company by selling off assets individually or spinning off the television stations. But he may have no choice. Any new owner faces regulatory hurdles that bar a newspaper publisher from owning broadcast outlets in the same market." The Wall Street Journal says if Broad and Burkle still decide to raise their offer it could be considered.
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Photo: E. Jason Wambsgans/Tribune