Nov 16, 2009

Zell sees his shadow

The Tribune Co. filed a motion on Friday asking for an extension of the time it has the exclusive right to negotiate its Chapter 11 bankruptcy. According to the motion, the company expects to remain bankrupt for another six months, until end of May 2010.

Here's a portion of the memo Tribune executive Randy Michaels and Gerry Spector sent to employees:
The exclusivity motion makes it clear that we’ve accomplished a lot as a company. With your help, we have stabilized and repositioned our businesses, exceeding the financial results of most of our newspaper and broadcasting peers. This year we project operating cash flow of approximately $400 million—nearly double our original operating plan. ...

Today’s motions will generate some media attention. Try to tune out the noise and focus on your job. The fourth quarter is traditionally the strongest one of the year and, with your continued hard work, we're sure this year will be no different.
The filing did in fact attract some media attention. Here's how the Tribune-owned Chicago Tribune led its story:
Signaling that infighting among creditors is bogging down reorganization efforts, Tribune Co. has asked a U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware to give its management team until March 31 to craft a plan to exit Chapter 11 without interference from other parties.

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