Monday, April 02, 2007

Questions put to rest

Happy Opening Day everyone. The Cubs are in Cinncy, but the real drama continues to play out in the Tribune boardroom. Today's drama signals the end of the Tribune as we know it and the beginning of the Cubs being on sale.

As predicted last week on Ivychat, the Tribune Company has accepted an offer to go private. In the early hours Monday morning Sam Zell bumped his offer to $34 bucks a share and has taken the company over in a very complex $13 billion deal that includes an ESOP. Bloomberg has these details:
Billionaire Sam Zell said he agreed to buy Tribune Co., owner of the Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times, for about $8.2 billion, thwarting rivals Ron Burkle and Eli Broad.

Zell said in an interview he will pay $34 a share for the newspaper publisher after raising his bid from $33 yesterday. Zell said via telephone that he plans to sell the Chicago Cubs baseball team once the deal is done.

The offer matched the $34 a share that Burkle and Broad had bid last week. The auction of Tribune stretched for six months and was marked by tepid interest before a last minute bidding war. The deal with Zell will end more than two decades of public ownership of the second-largest U.S. newspaper company and will put nine newspapers, 23 television stations in the hands of a 65-year-old property magnate.

This puts to rest the speculation on whether or not Zell plans to keep the Cubs. Even the Tribs own sports website stated this:
In addition, the Tribune said it intends to sell the Chicago Cubs and its 25 percent stake in local sports cable channel Comcast SportsNet Chicago.

So as the the Tribune boardroom drama comes to rest, we now look forward to a change in ownership. Happy Opening Day everyone.

UPDATE: Here is what Chuck has to say.

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