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Judge weighs Tribune Co. bankruptcy plan

WILMINGTON, Del. — A federal judge in Delaware is close to deciding whether Tribune Co. can emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

The judge indicated after a hearing Friday that he would rule on the media conglomerate’s latest reorganization plan by early July.

Tribune’s plan is a revision of a proposal rejected by the judge last year. It focuses on settling legal claims against lenders involved in a 2007 leveraged buyout led by billionaire Sam Zell. The transaction left Tribune saddled with unsustainable debt of almost $13 billion.

The plan would leave Tribune in the hands of an ownership group led by JPMorgan Chase, distressed debt specialist Angelo, Gordon & Co. and hedge fund Oaktree Capital Management. The plan would also allow creditors to pursue claims against shareholders who benefited from the buyout.