Zell Seals $8.2B Tribune Deal

Vows sweeping change at now-private media company
By Zach Samalin,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 20, 2007 1:16 PM CST
The Tribune Tower is seen along Chicago's Michigan Avenue in this June 20, 2006, file photo. Zell closed his deal to buy Tribune Co. today. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Billionaire Sam Zell today sealed his bid to buy Tribune Co., proving wrong all Wall Street naysayers since his original $8.2 billion offer last April. Zell steps in as CEO and chairman, and promises sweeping reforms to the way the now-private media conglomerate will be run, the Chicago Tribune reports. "You call it CEO and I'll call it owner," Zell said of his new role.

Topping Zell's to-do list is tackling Tribune's imposing $13 billion debt. But the company expects to see drastic changes in the way it is structured, too, as Zell implements a bottom-up system whereby its newspapers—including the LA Times, Chicago Tribune, and Newsday—will be held accountable for managing themselves, rather than taking orders from on high.