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Chandler directors quit Tribune board

The move by the trust representatives puts the family closer to exiting the newspaper industry.

June 05, 2007|Richard Verrier | Times Staff Writer

The Chandler family moved closer Monday to cutting its historic ties to the newspaper industry, with three representatives of the family trusts resigning from Tribune Co.'s board of directors.

Jeffrey Chandler, Roger Goodan and William Stinehart Jr. resigned as directors, the Chicago-based media company said, marking the end of the family's role on the board.

The Chandlers became a leading shareholder of Tribune in 2000, when the family sold its controlling stake in Times Mirror Co., the parent of the Los Angeles Times, to the media company.

The resignations were expected and follow a complex $8.2-billion transaction announced in April that would enable real estate developer Sam Zell to take Tribune private.

Tribune owns 11 daily newspapers, 23 television stations and the Chicago Cubs baseball team.

The resignations denote the end of an era for the Chandlers and their media dynasty, founded by Gen. Harrison Gray Otis more than 120 years ago. As the owners of The Times, the Chandlers once dominated the civic, cultural and political life of Southern California.

Stung by Tribune's falling stock price, the Chandlers became the company's fiercest critic, publicly lambasting management and triggering an auction that began last fall.

Under the Zell deal, the family agreed to sell its trusts' 20% stake in the company and to have its representatives step down from the board after Tribune completed a tender offer for its shares.

The trusts held 17% of Tribune shares after the offer was completed May 24. Tribune said the Chandler trusts had agreed to sell their remaining 20.4 million shares through a block trade underwritten by Goldman, Sachs & Co.

Representatives of the Chandler family trusts and Tribune declined to comment.

The resignations leave Tribune's board with nine members including Dennis J. FitzSimons, who is Tribune chairman, president and chief executive, and Zell.

Zell was elected to the board May 9 and will become chairman of the board after the expected closing of the deal late this year, pending regulatory approvals.

The new board is expected to include nine directors, including FitzSimons, at least five independent directors and an additional director affiliated with Zell.

Shares of Tribune rose 8 cents to $32.24. They have gained 4.7% this year. The tender offer was for $34 a share.

richard.verrier@latimes.com

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