Monday, December 8, 2008

Tribune Company List of Creditors--Where's Zell?

The plot thickens? The Tribune Company's bankruptcy petition and related statements are online, courtesy of the L.A. Times. As I mentioned in my earlier post, Zell's stake in the company is reportedly represented primarily by a $225 million 11-year subordinated note. I went hunting for this obligation in the "Consolidated List of Creditors Holding the Thirty Largest Unsecured Claims Against the Debtors," and I couldn't find it. The range of claim amounts is quite broad, from the $8.57 billion owed on the senior bank facility all the way down to a $1.69 million claim by Paramount Pictures Corp. for "trade debt" (maybe licensing fees or something?). Where's Zell's $225 million note? I wouldn't expect to find Zell's name on the list--doubtless, he made the loan through one (or more) of his companies. But of the several mentions of "subordinated promissory notes due 2018" (which would precisely describe the notes I would expect to find reflecting Zell's stake), all five are listed as much smaller amounts ($3.3 million, $2.8 million, down to $2.16 million). These notes are held by companies named "Tower XX, LLC" (where XX is a two-letter combination that differs for each company), c/o Equity Group Investments (which I believe is Zell's company). The five notes add up to only $13.4 million--a far cry from the $225 that the reports I had seen suggested for Zell's position. Is the remainder broken into dozens of notes for less than $1.691 million (the smallest claim on the list)? Curious.

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