Case | HBS Case Collection | May 2008 (Revised October 2010)

Tribune Company, 2007

by Timothy A. Luehrman and Eric Seth Gordon


This case describes the proposed acquisition of Tribune Company by Sam Zell in 2007. Tribune Company is one of the largest newspapers and broadcasting companies in the United States. Zell's proposed acquisition is unusual in several respects. It is two-tiered, employs an ESOP as the acquisition vehicle, involves a high degree of leverage as well as the significant asset sales, and Zell himself will own almost no common stock in the post-deal Tribune. The case is set in late October 2007, at which point the first stage of the acquisition has been completed but the second stage has not. Recent deterioration in both Tribune's operating results and credit market conditions make it unclear whether the transaction can be closed as scheduled in 2007, or indeed at all.

Keywords: Mergers and Acquisitions; Financial Markets; Employee Stock Ownership Plan; Negotiation Offer; Journalism and News Industry; Publishing Industry;


Luehrman, Timothy A., and Eric Seth Gordon. "Tribune Company, 2007." Harvard Business School Case 208-148, May 2008. (Revised October 2010.)