Chandler update: WSJ reports that the Chandler family, which is making noises about making a bid for part of Tribune Co., has no interest in re-entering the newspaper business. The family's interest, should no better deal emerge, would be to split off part or all of Tribune's newspaper group in a tax-free deal. Yes, tax implications remain a big part of the story - so much so that David Geffen's $2 billion offer for the LAT was said to have been turned down because of the tax impact. From the WSJ:
Meanwhile, Tribune has pushed back the deadline for completing the auction by three months to the end of the first quarter. Private-equity bidders, once seen as the most likely buyers, have shown tepid interest, and the only rival newspaper company to show much interest was Gannett Co. Also lodging a preliminary expression of interest for the whole company was real-estate magnate Eli Broad with supermarket investor Ron Burkle, both of whom are thought to be primarily interested in the Los Angeles Times. Concern that the auction was in disarray prompted the Chandlers, through their financial adviser, Tom Unterman, and Goldman Sachs, their investment bank, to contact some private-equity firms and wealthy individuals such as Messrs. Geffen, Broad and Burkle, to see whether any were interested in teaming up for a bid for the newspapers. So far, no alliances with the Chandlers have been formed, and it is unclear how serious any of the parties are in talking with the family.
LAT also reports on Geffen's $2 billion bid, but says that Tribune has declined to accept or reject the offer. The Times also notes that none of the parties expressing preliminary interest in Tribune have actually made a formal offer. That can't be a great sign.
Golden Globe nominees: Yeah, they're back - the awards that no one is supposed to take seriously even though everyone does. This year's movie nominees are dominated by the little-seen "Babel," with seven nominations, including best picture and best director. The other best picture nominees: "Bobby," "The Departed," The Queen" and "Little Children." Nominees for best comedy or musical are "Borat," "The Devil Wears Prada," "Dreamgirls," "Little Miss Sunshine," and "Thank You for Smoking." LAT
Port suit settled: But for a price. The L.A. City Council will shell out $27.7 million to Los Angeles Export Terminal to resolve a long-running dispute over a petroleum coke terminal at the Port of Los Angeles. They will also forgo about $46 million in back rent owed by LAXT. In return, LAXT vacates 117 acres of port land. Breeze.
Breeze sale ready: As expected, Hearst will actually buy the paper and then it will be resold to Dean Singleton's MediaNews Group. Breeze has a short AP story on the news. LAO has some more details.
More gold for 'Pirates': In its first DVD sales week, "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest" sold 10.5 million units. That puts it on track to become the No. 1 selling DVD of 2006. The Disney release is a sequel to 2003's "Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl," which grossed $423.3 million at the domestic box office. Daily News
Taco Bell's outlook: It's not as bad as you'd think. Despite the E. coli outbreak in the northeast, overseas sales will likely cushion the blow of empty Taco Bells. Also helping are the other chains owned by Yum Brands Inc. Those include KFC and Pizza Hut. Same-store sales for Irvine-based Taco Bell could fall 20 percent in the final four weeks of the quarter. AP/Daily News