CHICAGO — Tribune Co. and its creditors agreed Monday to accept the appointment of an independent bankruptcy examiner in the Chapter 11 case, opening the door to further scrutiny of Tribune Chairman Sam Zell's controversial 2007 leveraged buyout of the Chicago-based media conglomerate.
The examiner, who will be appointed by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court trustee in Delaware by the end of the week, will be free to inspect all aspects of the case, including the buyout and the fairness of a settlement reached this month between Tribune and some of its creditors.
The move comes after U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Kevin Carey signaled his support for an examiner at a hearing April 13. He also supported a compromise reorganization plan submitted by Tribune, whose media properties in Los Angeles include The Times and KTLA-TV Channel 5.
But given the complexity of the legal issues in the case, Carey is seeking a broader consensus on the plan and wants legal support to help him sort out the mess in the event the plan is ultimately contested, sources said.