I've held out the Chandler family for the damage they did to the Tribune Co. But it is hard not to think that what the Chandler's did was prescient. Although they wanted more then $34 a share, they managed to persuade Sam Zell and his investors to create a deal forcing the employees to attempt to purchase the company for that amount.
Zell, as discussed in the California suit by former and current Los Angeles Times employees, was not on the hook for that much. And as discussed in SZYIIMI, Zell didn't even put up the money in the form of equity, but rather as a form of debt for which he received warrants he has never exercised.
So, it is apologies to all those fans of the great Chandler family, especially at the Los Angeles Times. I am now in awe of the Chandlers.
Of course it was this type of backward thinking that created the myth of the grave dancer. Looking back at the genius of a business tycoon can lead you astray like that. Prior to his Tribune deal, the grave dancer was purchasing distressed properties and through wringing costs from them and then finding another entity to purchase them, he was making a profit.
So, it is fair now, to look at the genius of the Chandler family. In coming business stories we can describe how they saw the upcoming storm in the financial markets, the meltdown caused by Internet and its effect on newspapers, the collapse of the real estate market and the classified ad market and even how Detroit would go into a tail spin in the waining days of POTUS43.
It will happen at some point, even has. Andrew Ross Sorkin, in his story on the 8th titled “Workers Pay for Debacle at Tribune,” wrote, “In some corners of the world, you could arguably applaud Tribune’s board for selling the company when they did. The Chandler family, which owned 12 percent of Tribune through its previous sale of Times Mirror, campaigned for a sale and eventually won, though the family accepted a much lower price than they had hoped.”
So bravo Chandlers. You saw what no one else did and acted on it. I know it because a future business story will describe it in all its truthiness. And you can always fit the facts to the history when you back test.