Tribune bankruptcy could be nearing end


US Bankruptcy Judge Kevin Carey has indicated that he is nearing a decision on a reorganization plan for Tribune Company, which has been in Chapter 11 for nearly three years. Judge Carey also gave approval to a bonus plan for Tribune management employees.

The company’s flagship Chicago Tribune, which has been following the long bankruptcy closely, reports that Judge Carey said for the first time at a hearing this week that he is close to a decision on the reorg plan. He is picking between two proposals – one backed by Tribune’s management and senior creditors and another proposed by Aurelius Capital Management and backed by other junior creditors.

After hearing arguments in June the judge indicated he might have a decision in a month or so. Like most things in this case, the timing has dragged on.

There was no opposition to the proposal from Tribune Company to pay 2011 bonuses to some 640 managers, based on how well the company performs this year. Cash flow is now projected at about $517 million, up $20 million from the previous estimate. That would indicate a bonus pool of $26.4-32.4 million – in the middle of the range for the incentive plan.