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Another Potential Tribco Bidder

I feel obliged to post about this, because I get flamed in certain quarters if I don't.

There's another possible bid for Tribune Company, or, more correctly, "parts" of it.

This one comes from the Chandler family, one of Tribune's major shareholders through their stake in the Los Angeles Times, taken over in an ill-considered move by Tribco several years ago.

This is, as the article points out, a very preliminary move:

... frustrated with the muted interest that the auction of Tribune has so far generated, the Chandlers are exploring the idea of leading a private equity consortium as a way to either create value in a leveraged buyout of the assets or to possibly start a bidding war.

The article points out the possible financial advantages of a Chandler-led bid:

The advantage the Chandler family would have in the auction is its status as the owner of 20 percent of the Tribune Company. A deal could be structured with the Chandlers owning 51 percent of a Tribune unit and private equity firms the rest. For example, Tribune could decide to spin off its television unit and sell its newspaper unit to a Chandler-led group on a tax-advantaged basis. Such a consortium would not have to pay the enormous tax bill that an outside bidder would be faced with, an issue that has scared off some would-be suitors. And such a buyout structure, loaded with debt, would allow family members to cash out of Tribune to a degree, the people briefed on the discussions said.


The Chandler family's first preference remains for the company to be sold in its entirety to an outside buyer, these people said.

Which would probably give more credence to the Broad/Burkle group out of Los Angeles.

In any case, this seems to be not much more than a trial balloon being floated; any sale of Tribune, with further possible implications for the Cubs, still seems many months, if not a year or more, away. But I thought you'd all like to know.