Skip to comments.Sam Zell's Deal from Hell (Dinosaur Media DeathWatch™)
Posted on 07/30/2008 3:00:27 PM PDT by abb
The turnaround maven should have seen the problems ahead in the newspaper industry. His blind side may have cost Tribune Co. its very life
"It's the deal from hell," says Sam Zell, never one to mince words. "And it will continue to be the deal from hell until we turn it around." Zell is talking, of course, about his $8.5 billion purchase of Tribune Co. in December 2007, a transaction that's shaping up to be one of the most disastrous the media world has ever seen. Zell is a real estate tycoon, and his plush office reflects his decades of success: Giant even by CEO standards, it brims with paintings and statues and looks out on a private garden above the Chicago River. One item that stands out among the clutter is an upside-down map of the world, a prop presumably intended to convince visitors that they're in the presence of an iconoclast. Zell, 66 and fiercely devoted to blue jeans, has burnished that image carefully over the years.
Were it not for the Tribune debacle, there would be no reason to question Zell's brilliance as a businessman. He describes himself, immodestly, as a "grave dancer" who buys properties at fire-sale prices and resells them for a profit. His biggest coup came in late 2006, when he orchestrated a bidding war for his real estate trust, Equity Office Properties. EOP eventually went to Blackstone Group ("BX") for $39 billion, in what was then the biggest leveraged buyout in history. Weeks later he thumbed his nose at the dealmaking world with a satirical song, posted on the Web, that predicted the credit crunch soon to sweep the globe. It seemed he could do no wrong.
Then Zell bought Tribune and stumbled into a calamity of plunging sales and rising costs.
(Excerpt) Read more at businessweek.com ...
Sometimes things are at fire-sale prices because they are on fire.
Maybe Sam will shoot the Sun Sentinel.
Schadenfreude, sweet schadenfreude.
Zell is a schmuck. He became so convinced of his brilliance that he believed he could catch the proverbial falling knife.
Obviously, he didn’t believe that the basic law about regression to the mean could ever apply to him. Brilliant deal maker that he is. Was.
Too bad. Time for him to move to Boca Raton with the rest of the has-beens.
I still think he’ll pull it out.
It depends on what the definition of “it” is....
it = profit
"The industry has lost its credibility" because of biased, boring, and self-indulgent articles.
OK...so long as it isn’t part of Sam’s anatomy.....
I can't see it. Paper information distribution systems (formerly called 'newspapers') just can no longer compete with interactive electronic information distribution. Advertisers pay for eyeballs and they are all migrating to the internet.
I know that’s the conventional wisdom, but I ignore ads on the web even more than I ignore print and TV ads. I must be in the minority.
John Wanamaker (July 11, 1838 December 12, 1922) was a United States merchant, religious leader, civic and political figure, considered the father of modern advertising.
Popular saying illustrating how difficult it was to reach potential customers using traditional advertising is attributed to John Wanamaker: “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.”
Theoretically he could sell the staff into slavery somewhere in Africa. He could still turn a profit.
Had he paid my $10 million consulting fee I could have told him with 100% confidence not to do the deal, and my fee would have been an incredible bargain.
Most ads aren't targeted toward smart people.
Indeed!! Or he could have just lurked here and seen our Dinosaur Media DeathWatch postings. Anyone who could read could see this one coming.
Thanks! Tell my wife!
......Zell, meanwhile, has no patience for what he views as the pomposity of journalists ......
Keep in mind this is a Business Weak piece. They are as left wing as the papers they think were raped by Zell
News papers are for journalists, no businessmen allowed.
Clue to Zell ~ they don't!
Sam Zell is cool.
Check out this vid.
Around the 10:30 mark
Jack Welch said something about his Zell’s wife generally canceling out his vote and Zell said
” Oh in spades in spades, its aweful but Ive been working on my wife for the last 12 years and I gotta tell you Im making progress “
” You know logic can overcome liberalism “
Well, Zell, if you fired a couple dozen of the most blatant, purse-carrying, America-hating liberals, and we must include the loathesome, affirmative action evil females, and then, perhaps, hired objective writers to replace them, you might’ve made a few bucks to save your sorry reputation.
Nawww, if Zell had the brain for media and market, he would have done the firings in 2007. The man is out of his league.
Enjoy your bath down at the bottom of the deep, blue sea, Zell.
Que sara sara...whatever will be will be...the future’s not ours, you see..
“I vote he sells Eric Zorn to Mugabe.”
Eric Zorn is a mediocre writer (and I’m being generous with that label) whose only talent is sucking up to his editors and the publisher so they will keep him around. I’ve seen articles penned by school children that are superior to anything he has written. And he is such a wuss, an uber-liberal who trembles at the mere hint of anything off from the lefty farm.
That bucktoothed moron blows. I send him a weekly e-mail that tells him that. He never resonds.
Lecture that should be given on Day One at J-School: “All of you who applied to J-School ‘to make a difference’ — raise your hands. OK, now get out of here and go to Law School.”
Maybe he’s just having fun. I would be if I were him.
For all the employees who had pensions with the company. Since Zell is reportedly on the hook for 300 mil, he will come out just fine. Lots of people got screwed by this guy, even if he was allowed to risk other people's life savings on his purchase. This should never have happened.
You mean the shareholders shouldn't have been allowed to sell to Zell?
Can't fault the shareholders for getting out when they did. It was the financing using other people's money, the Tribune's tax-exempt employee stock ownership plan. That's people's retirement he pushed into the center of the table with his all in gambit. He should have had to gamble with more of his own money, or found willing partners. That's my beef with it. Zell wont feel much even if he loses ever dime of that $315 mil. Those people who's retirement was the employee stock ownership will feel it big time.
True. On the other hand "those people" generally are unrepentant left winger "journalists" who despise capitalism. This simply relieved them of the cognitive dissonance caused by having a capitalist retirement plan; now they can be far more comfortable in relying upon the pittance that they believe that we should all receive. In the name of fairness, of course. It's pretty poetic, actually.
ESOP held the biggest chunk, IIRC.
It was the financing using other people's money, the Tribune's tax-exempt employee stock ownership plan.
Nobody held a gun to their head. Maybe they knew they were in bad shape?
That's people's retirement he pushed into the center of the table with his all in gambit.
If they went under, without his purchase, their retirement goes poof. How's the United Airlines ESOP doing?
He should have had to gamble with more of his own money, or found willing partners.
The employees are his willing partners.
Those people who's retirement was the employee stock ownership will feel it big time.
OH MAN it getting bad at Chicago tribune slash LA Liars LOL!