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Zell and Tribune: A Plundering Operation or Contrarian Buy?

NY Times: For Tribune Buyer, a Storm to the West. The Los Angeles Times was nothing but trouble for the Tribune Company, and it may prove even more of a challenge for its new owner, Samuel Zell.

Zell is a smart, smart businessman. He knows zip, he’s made clear, about newspapers and media.

Why should that stop him? He has recognized, as have other financial buyers of newspapers, that these are businesses that churn out cash at prodigious rates.

Will he milk the cow — which has more life in it than the utter pessimists believe — or try to run a longer-term business? There’s absolutely nothing in his record to suggest that he cares about anything except cashing in.

If I worked as a journalist for Tribune Co. today, I’d be even more worried.

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