Hell for Zell: The Bankruptcy of Tribune Company

Hell for Zell: The Bankruptcy of Tribune Company
Case Code: BSTR317
Case Length: 19 Pages
Period: 2000-2009
Pub Date: 2009
Teaching Note: Not Available
Price: Rs.300
Organization: Tribune Company
Industry: Newspapers
Countries: USA
Themes: Failure of Strategy, Bankruptcy
Hell for Zell: The Bankruptcy of Tribune Company
Abstract Case Intro 1 Case Intro 2 Excerpts


The case describes the sequence of events which led to the Tribune Company filing for bankruptcy. It begins with details of the history of the 161-year-old company, and goes on to discuss the reasons for the company's gradual decline which prompted its shareholders to demand its sale.

The case then talks about the entry of Sam Zell with a complex financial plan to purchase the company. It then describes the measures he took to revive the company's fortunes, the failure of those measures, and finally, the filing for bankruptcy.


The case is structured to achieve the following teaching objectives

  • Understand the challenges faced by a media company at a time when more and more people are turning to the Internet for news and entertainment
  • Evaluate a media company's efforts to survive in turbulent times



Newspapers, Print advertising, Online advertising, Tribune company, Chapter 11 Bankruptcy, Chicago Tribune, Restructuring debt, Redesigns, Leveraged, Television, Radio, ESOP, Chicago Cubs

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