The seesaw battle for Tribune Co. tilted again Thursday evening, when Los Angeles billionaires Eli Broad and Ron Burkle said they would pay $1 more a share than real estate mogul Sam Zell, who had been viewed as the front-runner to acquire the media company.
Broad and Burkle made their offer as Chicago-based Tribune approached a self-imposed Saturday deadline to determine its fate. It reportedly had been on the verge of accepting a $33-a-share bid from Zell.
A Tribune spokesman declined to comment on how the company and its directors might respond to the 11th-hour offer from Broad and Burkle. A person familiar with the billionaires’ proposal said it was similar to that of Zell, who planned to use an employee stock ownership plan, or ESOP, to fund much of the deal. Broad and Burkle said in a letter to Tribune directors that their offer was worth $34 a share.