Tribune looking to close in Q4


The acquisition of multimedia Tribune Company by Sam Zell and an employee ownership group is awaiting FCC approval, not just of the transaction, but of waivers under which the company hopes to keep alive grandfathering arrangements allowing broadcast and newspaper properties to be co-owned in the same market. Grandfather often is a casualty when such properties are sold, and the deal is said to be conditioned on a renewal of the waivers, which affect television/newspaper combinations in New York, Los Angeles, Miami and Hartford, and a television/radio/newspaper combination in Chicago, where Tribune's last radio station WGN-AM is located.

According to Reuters, analysts have noted the FCC approval should be forthcoming as there "seems to be bipartisan political will" to allow the deal to go forward. In June, three key Democratic senators wrote the FCC on the matter, and while the trio stopped short of asking for renewing the waivers/grandfather clauses which allow the combinations to exist, they did call for swift FCC action to at least get all the cards on the table as soon as possible. Hometown legislator Dick Durbin (D-IL) was joined by Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) in writing the letter.