Bankruptcy judge authorizes Tribune Co. bonuses

DOVER, Del. — A bankruptcy judge in Delaware has authorized Tribune Co. to pay millions of dollars in bonuses to managers.

Tribune says it needs to reward these executives for managing the company amid bankruptcy proceedings, and during a challenging period for media businesses.

Tribune sought bankruptcy protection in 2008 after a buyout orchestrated by billionaire developer Sam Zell left it mired in debt. The management incentive plan calls for some 640 employees to share $16 million to $42 million if they hit certain financial targets.

The judge is weighing whether to approve Tribune’s reorganization plan to emerge from bankruptcy protection. Some creditors oppose it because it would protect lenders that financed the ill-fated buyout from lawsuits.

Tribune Co. owns the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times and other newspapers and broadcast stations.

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