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Zell’s Little Hell

zellcash.jpgSam Zell has a few hurdles to clear before he can buy the Tribune Co., even though shareholders are set to vote on his $8.2 billion proposal in late August.

According to the LAT:

Washington regulators must agree to transfer the licenses of Tribune’s 23 TV stations and one radio station to the new company, led by real estate mogul Sam Zell, and to issue waivers allowing it to hold on to TV stations in Los Angeles and four other cities where Tribune also owns newspapers, including The Times.

In addition, borrowing terms have grown more onerous since Zell made the proposal in April, making it costlier to finance the transaction. The company is expected to be saddled with about $10 billion in debt even after an expected sale of the Chicago Cubs baseball team.

Wall Street has signaled its skittishness, sending Tribune shares down to $29.25 late last month after they had hit a high in late May of $33.20. The Zell deal is worth $34 a share if it is completed.

Meanwhile, conventional wisdom around the LAT newsroom (with the people we’ve spoken to, anyway) is that once Zell does get his hands on Trib, he’s likely to sell off the L.A. paper to David Geffen. We’ll see if that scuttlebutt turns out to be anything close to true.

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