Eisner ‘Not Going to Discuss Taking Over Tribune … & Then Kinda Does

On book tour, former Disney CEO playing cards close to his chest that he’ll be the new chairman of troubled media giant

Michael Eisner isn’t saying anything about reports that he is tipped to soon take over as Chairman of Tribune Co. ... And he’s making a point on saying nothing.

In an interview with the Daily Beast, Eisner — who ostensibly is promoting his upcoming “Working Together: Why Great Partnerships Succeed,” which comes out Tuesday — said, “Nothing that has come out has come from me.”

Of course, no stranger to a good narrative and the attention it is getting him, Eisner then coyly continues, “I can’t help people making conjecture, but I’ve never said anything about it and I’m not going to discuss it.”

Tribune Co., owners of the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune and various TV stations and other properties, has been in an ongoing Chapter 11 case in U.S. Bankruptcy court in Delaware since late 2008. Currently it's putting together another reorganization plan to submit to the court and quietly talking to major creditors such JPMorgan Chase.

However, Tribune’s exclusive window for finding a solution to the almost 21-month problem expired on Aug. 9, leaving creditors in a position to force their own reorganization and top management if they wanted.

The 68-year Eisner — who left Disney in 2005 after a shareholder revolt and now runs multimedia investment firm Tornante — might not discuss Tribune, but he makes it very clear that his long-standing friendship with John Angelo, head of one of Tribune’s biggest creditors, should be a matter or zero debate.

“Well, I wouldn’t kill someone (for him),” Eisner joked according to the Daily Beast’s Peter Lauria, “but certainly I’m supportive of [whatever else] he would like to do.”

Angelo, who is said to be the primary advocate of Eisner taking over the helm at Tribune, runs NYC Equity firm Angelo, Gordon and Company. The relationship between Angelo and his partner Michael Gordon is one of the 10 featured in “Working Together” along with that of Bill and Melinda Gates, Imagine Entertainment’s Brian Grazer and Ron Howard and Eisner himself and former Disney President Frank Wells, who died in a helicopter crash in 1994.

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