Cheat-Seeking Missles

Monday, April 02, 2007

ChiTrib,LAT's "Bottom-Feeding" New Owner

Such is the state of the newspaper biz today that a man with a well-deserved reputation as a real estate bottom-feeder (a brilliant bottom-feeder, but a bottom-feeder nonetheless) has emerged as the new owner of Tribune Corp., owners of the Chicago Tribune and LA Times. And guess what? The new owner is kinda Republican and definitely pro-Israel.

In the real estate downturn of the late 80s and early 90s, my PR firm represented a prominent West Coast commercial real estate firm and Sam Zell, the bottom feeder, was talk of the industry. The Chicago-based real estate mogul was buying financially hurting office buildings left and right, since he had the money and the faith in the future turn-around to do so.

Last year, near the top of the market, he sold much of his real estate portfolio to the Blackstone Group for $23 billion. He's only putting $250 million of that into the Trib deal. The deal's not closed yet, but Zell's done a brilliant job of thwarting the efforts of other bidders thus far.

Politically, the new owner of these two influential media is a substantial contributor to GOP causes and candidates, even though he also gives a lot to Dems, which should be expected since his hometown is a Dem town and politics is influence.

Zell also founded with an entrepreneurship center at IDC Entrepreneurship Center in Israel and is also a long-time supporter of The Israel Center for Social & Economic Progress.

Libs will hate that a very wealthy and successful free market entrepreneur with strong ties to Israel will soon be owner of these two papers. They prefer large papers to be owned by Old Money, with decisions made by third-generation offspring who have never had to work for their money and therefore believe in liberal causes, or by faceless corporations that don't pay attention as newsrooms are stuffed full of Libs.

That's not Sam Zell.

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