Tribune Creditors Seek To File Suit Over 2007 Buyout

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Creditors of bankrupt U.S. newspaper publisher Tribune Co (TRBCQ.PK) are seeking approval to sue the parties involved with the company’s 2007 leveraged buyout, according to court papers on Monday.

According to a motion filed in the U.S. bankruptcy court in Delaware, the company’s official committee of unsecured creditors is seeking approval to file a draft of its proposed complaint so that it may begin to deal with claims arising out of the company’s buyout.

The creditors did not specify the parties they are seeking to sue.

The publisher of the Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times filed for bankruptcy in December 2008 after going private in a $8.2 billion deal led by real estate magnate Sam Zell that resulted in the company having $13 billion in debt.

Zell resigned as chief executive of the company last month after two years at the helm, but remains chairman of the company.

Separately, Tribune asked the bankruptcy court for an extension of its time to have the exclusive right to file its reorganization plan and said it is working to file its reorganization plan prior to Feb. 28.

Tribune Co, whose properties also include 23 local television stations, had run into some resistance from lenders last year when it sought a similar extension. Its lenders had said at the time they wanted to offer their own plan to reorganize the company.

A court hearing on the two requests is set for Feb. 18.

The case is In re: Tribune Company, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Delaware, No. 08-13141. (Reporting by Emily Chasan, additional reporting by Robert Macmillan; editing by Carol Bishopric)