Tuesday, November 13, 2007

FitzSimons speaks

In a memo to employees, Tribune's CEO said the cross-ownership rules change in just the big markets doesn't go far enough and the company will "seek an expansion of the cross-ownership relief beyond that contained in Chairman Martin's proposal."

"The Chairman previously said that he expected the commission to act on our application within 180 days -- we're now beyond that timeframe," FitzSimons wrote. "The content of today's proposed rule change and Chairman Martin's aggressive timetable for voting on it are likely to face challenges in the weeks ahead and there will be a great deal of speculation in the media about its impact. In addition, the proposal as currently written is likely to need further clarification. Until that clarification, we are declining to comment publicly about the proposal."
If the Zell Deal doesn't close by year's end, financing costs for the $34 per share buyout will be higher or, give the four investment banks — JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Citigroup and Merrill Lynch — a basis for withdrawing the $4.2 billion commitment. (Remember those material adverse effects clauses?)

Tribune shares closed up 62¢ today at $28.53.

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