Tribune (NYSE: TRB) shareholders at a special meeting Tuesday are likely to approve Chicago billionaire Sam Zell’s complex $8.2 billion plan to take the company private. But that doesn’t mean the actual debt-laden deal will get done; in fact, as the NYT reports, some investors are betting against it evan as Zell and the Tribune insist it will happen. When the market closed Friday, the stock was trading at a nearly 25 percent discount to the $34 per share promised last spring. The company’s performance isn’t helping with margins and revenue both weaker. The NYT walks through the options — none very attractive. Renegotiating the price would seem to make sense but a class-action probably would be filed before the day is out and less debt actually wind up costing higher interest rates.
Zell and Trib executives declined interviews with the Times. A written statement on behalf of the company: “Our going-private transaction is on track and the financing for it is fully committed. We anticipate closing the transaction in the fourth quarter, following F.C.C. approval, and expect to be in full compliance with our credit agreements.”