They're working on it. A bankruptcy exit plan, that is. That was the big news that came out of a Tribune Co. bankruptcy court hearing in Wilmington, Del. on Friday. But Tribune Co. Chief Financial Officer Chandler Bigelow III seemed to whine a bit when he told an attorney for the bankruptcy trustee and some creditors present that the company is "facing very difficult cyclical and sector pressures in our key business." Whether he knows it or not, Bigelow wasn't telling anyone anything about the media business that hasn't been readily apparent for some time.
Questions were also directed to Bigelow about the status of the sale of the Chicago Cubs. And again, Bigelow didn't have much to report, except to say "we're making progress." Progress? We have lost track of how many deadlines for the Cubs sale have come and gone already, so who knows if the Tribune Co. is really making progress on that front.
One other concern surfaced during Friday's hearing -- a second so-called solvency opinion that reportedly was never released in connection with Sam Zell's acquisition of the Tribune Co. in late 2007. Solvency opinions are documents that review the value of a company's saleable assets and its liabilities, as well as cash flow capacity and ability to meet obligations as they come due. Trib attorneys and Bigelow reportedly were at a loss to explain why the second solvency opinion was never released. They indicated they could release it at a later date.