Sam Zell

Sam Zell might lose control of Tribune

Intriguing story out of the Chicago Tribune (via Romenesko) says that negotiations with big creditors of the bankrupt Tribune Company could lead to chairman Sam Zell losing his role. Details are still in flux, apparently, but the story says:

Bankruptcy experts said the plan's outline raises questions about whether the senior lender group would want to retain Zell and his management team or seek new leadership for the company. It also poses the question of whether Zell would want to stay without a large ongoing stake in the company.

Sources close to both the creditors and the company said it is too early to make such decisions and Tribune management continues to control the process because it currently has the exclusive right to propose whatever reorganization plan it wishes. But Zell's team has indicated that it wants to work toward a consensual plan with the company's creditors, which means issues such as who manages the company and whether those managers are given equity as part of an incentive package will be negotiated over time, experts said.

"It completely depends on whether the new owners see value in keeping Zell," said Douglas Baird, a corporate reorganization specialist at the University of Chicago Law School. "They have to decide: Is the person at the helm when the company went into the storm the most able person to steer it out?"

Backhand to L.A. Times readers?: The Times website and Twitter accounts reported live on tonight's Tony Awards as they happened in New York, giving away spoilers to West Coast viewers.


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