Warner Bros., others prep Tribune lawsuit

Litigation would target Sam Zell-led buyout group

Warner Bros. and other unsecured creditors of Tribune Co. are looking to sue an investor group led by real estate tycoon Sam Zell that had bought out the media company in 2007.

The committee of unsecured creditors filed a motion on the matter with Tribune bankruptcy judge Kevin Carey, the New York Post reported Tuesday.

The suit would target Zell, Citigroup, JPMorgan and others that funded the buyout that landed Tribune in Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Zell had put up $315 million in the $11.7 billion leveraged buyout, with Tribune borrowing the rest, which created the debt load that led to the bankruptcy filing.

A hearing on whether the suit can proceed is scheduled for next month.

Meanwhile, talks about a long-delayed agreement with more senior creditors that would allow Tribune to emerge from bankruptcy will happen later this month, according to the Post. Judge Carey recently appointed a mediator, and talks between competing creditors have been slated for Sept. 26-27.