Tags: zell | newspapers

Zell: Newspapers Cannot Survive

By Dan Weil   |   Thursday, 29 Oct 2009 03:52 PM

Real estate investment legend Sam Zell acknowledges that his $8.2 billion takeover of Tribune Co. didn’t work out so well.

But he says the failure simply reflects a dying industry. Tribune Co., owner of the Chicago Tribune, has declared bankruptcy.

“I think with some reasonable luck, it’ll be out (of bankruptcy) probably the end of the first quarter,” Zell told Bloomberg.

“Bankruptcies by definition are frustrating, and I think they’ll continue to be.”

The Tribune takeover was the worst business decision of his career, Zell says.

“It’s certainly the most amount of money I’ve ever lost in a single deal.”

But he says you can’t question the past.

“That’s like maybe I should have married somebody else. The answer is that you can’t look back. As I’ve said often times, my head only works straight.”

If the deal didn’t work out, so be it, and on to the next, Zell said.

“In this particular case, there was such a crash on the revenue side of the entire newspaper business that as you can see by the other companies, nobody can survive.”

Newspapers have suffered from readers and advertisers migrating to the internet.

Newspaper analyst John Morton says newspapers must charge for online content.

"Despite the false premise that has been floating around for the last 19 years, that information on the internet wants to be free, (it) is just not true," he told Newsday, which recently decided to charge for most Web stories.

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Real estate investment legend Sam Zell acknowledges that his $8.2 billion takeover of Tribune Co. didn’t work out so well.But he says the failure simply reflects a dying industry. Tribune Co., owner of the Chicago Tribune, has declared bankruptcy.“I think with some...
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