Hurry Up & Wait — Judge Wants Tribune Reorg Plans Revised

Dec. 6. hearing could see the beginning of the end of the media giant’s two year Chapter 11 … or not.

You might want to cut the Marcus Aurelius.

Gratuitous references to Roman Emperors are just one of the reasons the judge in the Tribune Co. bankruptcy case wants the four reorganization plans for the troubled media giant revised and resubmitted.

"The disclosure statements exceed 400 pages, and that's just too long," Judge Kevin Carey told representatives of the plans Monday in a marathon seven hour session in Delaware court.

Tribune, owners of the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune and other media properties, has been in Chapter 11 since December 2008. That was less than year after embattled chairman Sam Zell took the company private in late 2007 in an $8.2 billion buyout that was cited for “dishonesty” by independent examiner earlier this summer.

Judge Carey wants the rewritten plans and disclosure statements back in front of him before a scheduled Dec. 6 hearing in which he will decide which ones will be sent out to creditors for voting approval.

A spokesman for Tribune told TheWrap that the company had no comment on the latest court proceedings.

Others were not as silent.

"There are more plans in this case than I have ever seen in my life," lawyer David LeMay said Monday in court. The Chadbourne & Parke attorney, who represents the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors in the case, left nothing to the imagination when he called the circumstances “a four-ring circus."

With various sideshows, including signs that former Disney CEO Michael Eisner would take over running Tribune and CEO Randy Michaels just one of many company execs being shown the door, the multi-billion dollar case has come to a simmer but not a boil several times in recent months.

It looked like a resolution might be close when Tribune submitted their new comprehensive reorganization plan to the bankruptcy court on Oct. 22. The plan is based on a proposal put forth earlier in the year by major creditors JPMorgan Chase, New York equity firms OakTree Capital Management and Angelo, Gordon & Company and the Committee of Unsecured Creditors. However, other creditors such as bondholder Aurelius Capitol Management and other low ranking creditors, hedge fund manager King Street Capital LP and other senior creditors later submitted alternate plans which complicated the situation.

After creditors vote on the approved plans, Judge Carey is expected to decide on a single plan sometime in March for Tribune to finally exit Chapter 11.