Chicago Tribune Buyout: To Zell and Back!

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Congrats to real estate billionaire Sam Zell, who today took private ownership of the Chicago-based Tribune Company and also donned the 10-gallon hat of CEO. The much watched and once tenuous deal now makes Zell owner of the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Cubs, Wrigley Field, 23 television stations and seven other U.S. daily newspapers.

"There's a new sheriff in town," Zell said at a news conference, ''and the name of the game is excellence, relevance tied to revenue. I'm sick and tired of listening to everyone talk about and commiserate over the end of newspapers. They ain't ended and they're not going to end. I think they have a great future.''

According to reports, Zell envisions adding fresher, hotter business units similar to the Red Eye, a quick, free read the Tribune began publishing a few years ago in an effort to recapture young Chi-towners who're feeding on news via cyberspace.

Zell also plans to make major digital moves, so look out Yahoo! and Google? He hopes, too, to complete the sell of the Chicago Cubs and Wrigley Field. All home run ideas in my book.


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