Zell: Buying Tribune Was 'A Mistake'
April 16, 2009 at 5:19 AM (PT)
SAM ZELL is admitting to a case of buyer's remorse, telling BLOOMBERG TELEVISION that buying TRIBUNE CO. was "a mistake" because he didn't anticipate that the newspaper business would decline as rapidly as it has. ZELL bought the company in 2007 in a deal that took the company private, and the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in DECEMBER 2008.
"By definition, if you bought something and it's now worth a great deal less, you made a mistake, and I'm more than willing to say I made a mistake," said ZELL. "I was too optimistic in terms of the newspaper's ability to preserve its position ... It's very obvious that the newspaper model in its current form does not work, and the sooner we all acknowledge that the better. Whether it be home delivery, whether it be giving content away for free -- these are critical issues. We are seriously looking at everything because in effect the future of the newspaper industry is at risk today."
ZELL said that he hopes to bring the company out of bankruptcy with its assets intact, but is considering "all options."
TRIBUNE owns Talk WGN-A/CHICAGO.