Real estate mogul Samuel Zell's crappy offer for Tribune.

Media criticism.
April 9 2007 6:07 PM

The Media Deal From Zell

Behind the real estate mogul's crappy offer for Tribune.

(Continued from Page 1)

If I worked for Tribune, I'd say forget the ESOP and begin looking for a new job. I'll bet the company's best journalists are already packing their keyboards. The last good journalist out won't have to turn out the lights. The electric utility will already have shut off the power.

I suspect that Zell has another ESOP card up his sleeve. Tribune owns both television stations and newspapers in four markets—Los Angeles, New York, Hartford, and South Florida. The sale will require Zell to obtain "cross-ownership" waivers from the FCC if he wants to keep all of his overlapping properties, which he very much does for now. Just by postponing the consummation of the Tribune deal, the FCC could cause it to unravel. Identifying the new Tribune Co. as an employee-owned entity would give Zell's legal team political leverage: "If you deny us our waiver, we'll kill this struggling multibillion-dollar media company!"

Advertisement

And what if the whole deal collapses? Zell has that covered that possibility creatively. Tribune will owe him a $25 million breakup fee.

******

Columbia University President Lee C. Bollinger just won nomination to the Washington Post Co. board of directors. As a Post Co. employee, I think I'd be a much better corporate steward. Please second my self-nomination by sending e-mails filled with praise to slate.pressbox@gmail.com. (E-mail may be quoted by name unless the writer stipulates otherwise. Permanent disclosure: Slate is owned by the Washington Post Co.)

Jack Shafer was Slate's editor at large. You can follow him on Twitter or email him at Shafer.Reuters@gmail.com.

TODAY IN SLATE

The World

The Budget Disaster that Sabotaged the WHO’s Response to Ebola

Are the Attacks in Canada a Sign of ISIS on the Rise in the West?

PowerPoint Is the Worst, and Now It’s the Latest Way to Hack Into Your Computer

Is It Offensive When Kids Use Bad Words for Good Causes?

Fascinating Maps Based on Reddit, Craigslist, and OkCupid Data

Culturebox

The Real Secret of Serial

What reporter Sarah Koenig actually believes.

Culturebox

The Actual World

“Mount Thoreau” and the naming of things in the wilderness.

In Praise of 13th Grade: Why a Fifth Year of High School Is a Great Idea

Can Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu Pull Off One More Louisiana Miracle?

  News & Politics
The World
Oct. 23 2014 1:51 PM Is This the ISIS Backlash We've Been Waiting For?
  Business
Business Insider
Oct. 23 2014 2:36 PM Take a Rare Peek Inside the Massive Data Centers That Power Google
  Life
Atlas Obscura
Oct. 23 2014 1:34 PM Leave Me Be Beneath a Tree: Trunyan Cemetery in Bali
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 23 2014 11:33 AM Watch Little Princesses Curse for the Feminist Cause
  Slate Plus
Working
Oct. 23 2014 11:28 AM Slate’s Working Podcast: Episode 2 Transcript Read what David Plotz asked Dr. Meri Kolbrener about her workday.
  Arts
Culturebox
Oct. 23 2014 1:46 PM The Real Secret of Serial Has Sarah Koenig made up her mind yet? 
  Technology
Technology
Oct. 23 2014 11:45 AM The United States of Reddit  How social media is redrawing our borders. 
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Oct. 23 2014 7:30 AM Our Solar System and Galaxy … Seen by an Astronaut
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.