Tribune Co., Chandlers In Talks To End Partnerships
September 15, 2006 at 12:20 PM (PT)
The CHICAGO TRIBUNE is reporting that its parent company and the dissident CHANDLER family shareholders are close "to unwinding two controversial partnerships" that have caused trouble for the TRIBUNE CO. The CHANDLERS, who sold the LOS ANGELES TIMES and TIMES MIRROR CO. to TRIBUNE in 2000 after creating two partnerships (TMCT I and TMCT II) in 1997 and 1999 to allow the family to swap their family stock for TIMES MIRROR assets tax-free, are battling TRIBUNE management over asset sales, valuation of preferred stock, and tax liabilities now that the partnerships have passed the date necessary to enable the tax benefits to vest. The CHANDLERS have been vocal in criticizing TRIBUNE management for allowing the company's share price to drop and have pushed for selling off assets, including spinning off the company's remaining TV stations and selling the styruggling LOS ANGELES TIMES. TRIBUNE owns one radio property, Talk WGN-A/CHICAGO.
Meanwhile, a group of LOS ANGELES political and civic leaders has issued public criticism of TRIBUNE's plans to make deeper job cuts at the LOS ANGELES TIMES, and Publisher JEFF JOHNSON and Editor DEAN BAQUET have also expressed opposition to further cuts, touching off speculation that BAQUET might leave if required to make more personnel cuts.