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Bankruptcy judge authorizes Tribune bonuses

DOVER, Del. — A federal bankruptcy judge in Delaware has authorized the Tribune Co. to pay up to $45 million dollars in bonuses to managers this year.

The judge issued an order Friday in response to Tribune’s request to continue an existing management-incentive program for some 425 employees.

Tribune says the proposed bonuses are reasonable and appropriate. There were no objections from creditors.

Tribune owns the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, other newspapers and several broadcast stations including WGN in Chicago. It sought bankruptcy protection in 2008 after a leveraged buyout orchestrated by billionaire developer Sam Zell left it mired in debt.

The judge will hold a hearing in Wilmington, Del., next month to determine whether to approve Tribune’s latest proposal to emerge from Chapter 11.