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THE TRIBUNE GETS SERIOUS: The writing has been on the wall for months for the Tribune Co., and on Monday, the company Sam Zell acquired 18 months ago filed for bankruptcy protection. In the filing, Tribune stated it has total assets of $7.6 billion, compared with approximately $13 billion in debt. Top creditors include J.P. Morgan Chase, Deutsche Bank and Merrill Lynch. Tribune, publishers of The Chicago Tribune and The Los Angeles Times, has hired Lazard to advise. The Chicago Cubs and Wrigley Field are not included in the filing.
“Over the last year, we have made significant progress internally on transitioning Tribune into an entrepreneurial company that pursues innovation and stronger ways of serving our customers,” said Zell, chairman and chief executive. “Unfortunately, at the same time, factors beyond our control have created a perfect storm — a precipitous decline in revenue and a tough economy, coupled with a credit crisis that makes it extremely difficult to support our debt.”
The announcement means layoffs are almost certain now and going forward. On Friday, Lisa Anderson, New York bureau chief and a national correspondent who has been with the Chicago Tribune for 25 years, and national correspondent Stevenson Swanson, who was with the paper 28 years, have essentially accepted buyouts during an involuntary reduction in the work force. — Amy Wicks