Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Zell's Deal analyzed *

The upside to the Deal is that each employee could average "tens of thousands of dollars, perhaps hundreds of thousands". Chicagoan David Warsh,, offers up a bit of history on ESOPs, commentary on Tribune's checkered history and its recent misfortune with corporate leadership made up of accountants and investment bankers "with little feel for the newspaper business" and he roots "for the employees of Tribune Co.'s newspapers – past, present and future."

There are flaws in the ESOP, naturally, from the employees’ point of view. Union representatives point to the lack of any consultation by employees in selecting the ESOP trustee that will play the lead role in governing the corporation. They may be employee-owners, but they don’t have much of a voice. Retirement accounts will remain partially diversified, but will be overly concentrated in Tribune stock. Still, at the end of the day the Zell transaction means that a company that is in need of significant change will succeed or fail through the workings of a partnership between a tycoon and his partners, the employees.
Rather than seeing his unionized workers as separate from the rest of the company's employees, we are hopeful that Zell will come to understand that they "work just as hard as everyone else" in the company and "are just as vested in its success". Zell visits Newsday

* Zell's employee-partners at the Allentown Morning Call "clapped and cheered" when he "promised to shift decision-making authority to Allentown" during his visit there Wednesday afternoon. Must be making the rounds, instilling hope and energizing all his partners with a positive message: be innovative, work hard, be a winner and reap the reward$.

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