Tribune Co. creditors have asked the Bankruptcy Court for permission to hire special counsel to further investigate the failed $8.2-billion leveraged buyout of the Chicago-based media company engineered by real estate magnate Sam Zell.
The inquiry is common practice when a bankruptcy follows closely on the heels of a leveraged buyout, bankruptcy experts said. Zell closed the transaction that took Tribune Co. private in December 2007. The new debt obligations were too big a burden, sending the company, the parent of the Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times, into bankruptcy in December 2008.
Creditors have not filed a lawsuit seeking to recover money against parties that were involved in the going-private transaction. But the court filing on Thursday signaled that they are considering pursuing litigation, said Chicago restructuring expert Bill Brandt.