Boardroom Battler Peltz Steps into Tribune Fray

17 August 2006

US activist shareholder Nelson Peltz, currently locking horns with food giant H J Heinz over seats on the company's board [WAMN: 25-April-06], has set hearts aflutter at Chicago media conglomerate Tribune Company.

A filing with finance regulator, the Securities and Exchange Commission, reveals Peltz has bought a 1.15% stake in the company, currently in the throes of civil war between its top executives and its largest outside shareholders, the Chandler family.

The clan is demanding the struggling business be broken up, while the board has voted for a $2 billion (€1.56bn; £1.05bn) share buyback. July revenue slipped 1.4% to $503 million from last year's $510m as publishing revenue fell 1.9% to $353m.

Although Peltz's initial foray is relatively tentative, past form suggests he will not remain long on the sidelines.

Comments John Miller, vp at Ariel Capital Management in Chicago: "He's surely not known as a passive investor. If he continues to build his stake, I'm sure we'll see some news from him."

Data sourced from AdAge (USA); additional content by WARC staff