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Deal puts company in employees’ hands

first_imgFor the past six months, many of the 20,000 employees of Tribune Co. have been wondering who their new owners would be. Turns out the answer is, basically, them. The deal announced Monday to take the Chicago-based media company private will result in Tribune being owned by an employee stock ownership plan, or ESOP. These plans have many advantages including significant tax breaks, but they also carry certain risks. Here’s how they work: An ESOP is a kind of benefit plan for employees, where the company contributes money, as it would to a pension or similar kind of retirement savings account. But instead of investing in stocks or bonds, as most pension plans might, an ESOP plan will use those contributions to pay down debt and buy stock in the company, which is then distributed to employees as a benefit. The new ESOP-owned Tribune will have about $13.4 billion in debt after the deal, Bear Stearns analyst Alexia Quadrani said, up from about $5 billion now. Real estate investor Sam Zell is contributing $315 million to the transaction and will wind up with the right to buy 40percent of the company later. Since ESOPs act as a kind of retirement benefit plan, company contributions to ESOP plans are essentially tax-free. This allows the company to pay down the debt more quickly. As the debt is paid down, employees will gradually receive shares in the company as a benefit, and they won’t owe tax on those shares until they leave the company or retire and cash them out. And, to the extent a company is owned by an ESOP program, profits aren’t taxed either. In order for the ESOP to be created, an independent trustee must vet the transaction and make sure it’s fair to the employees relative to what Zell is getting, and also whether the price being paid by the ESOP is justifiable given the expected future profits of the company. Tribune said in a statement that there would be no change in the pension benefits previously earned by employees as a result of the transaction. The new ESOP will be funded solely through company contributions. It all may sound quite appealing, but there are several cases of ESOPs that went wrong, some spectacularly so. UAL Corp.’s United Airlines adopted an ESOP structure in 1994, but employees suffered steep losses after the company declared bankruptcy in 2002. Corey Rosen, an expert on ESOPs and the founder and executive director of the National Center for Employee Ownership, an Oakland-based nonprofit organization, says several missteps were made in the United case. Those mistakes included putting a time limit on the ESOP structure, giving employees less incentive to support it, and also extracting significant concessions from workers at the outset, which worsened labor relations and helped set the stage for a crippling work slowdown in 2000. Also, the flight attendants’ union opted out of the agreement. Rosen pointed to several examples of successful ESOPs, including Publix Super Markets Inc., a fast-growing and highly regarded grocery chain based in Lakeland, Fla., as well as W.L. Gore & Associates Inc., the Newark, Del.-based maker of waterproof fabric Gore-Tex. While the tax benefits are compelling, Rosen cautioned that employee-owned business also need to foster a collaborative, “open-book” management culture where the employees do feel like owners – something that didn’t work out with United Airlines. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

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Cal State Northridge wins conference opener in volleyball

first_imgHarmony Burdine had 15 kills and 15 digs as Cal State Northridge’s women’s volleyball team opened its Big West Conference campaign Saturday night with a 3-1 victory over visiting Cal Poly. Burdine, a freshman from Pico Rivera, added six blocks for CSUN (3-7) in the 22-30, 32-30, 30-28, 30-23 victory. Frewshman Jenn Probert had 14 kills, Kayla Wright contributed eight kills and 47 assists, and Jamie Crawford added 15 digs. Cal Poly (7-3) was led by Vanessa Gilliam, who recorded 20 kills and 12 digs. UCLA 3, Villanova 0: Nana Meriwether had 15 kills with a .571 hitting percentage as the Bruins (7-1) swept Villanova 30-25, 30-27, 30-16 at the InnTower Invitational in Madison, Wis. Kaitlin Sather added 14 kills as 12 digs, Jordan Smith contributed 11 kills and Nancy Barba had 10 for the Bruins. Villanova fell to 10-3. The Master’s 3, Hope International 0: Rachel Rolder spiked 13 kills (with a .348 hitting percentage) and Amanda Roleder added 12 (at .320) as The Master’s swept visiting Hope 30-24, 30-28, 30-27 to improve to 2-2 in the Golden State Athletic Conference. TMC is 6-6 overall. MEN’S SOCCER: CSUN BOUNCES BACK, TOPS UNLV Cal State Northridge bounced back from its five-goal loss Friday to top-ranked Indiana, beating UNLV 5-3 at the Oregon State Diadora Classic in Corvallis, Ore. Willie Sims, a Reseda High product, had a hat trick and Taylor Canel scored twice for the 16th-ranked Matadors (4-1-1). UNLV rallied from deficits three times, but Sims broke a 3-3 tie with a free kick in the 75th minute and scored an insurance goal in the 80th. Sims has seven goals this season. Loyola Marymount 1, Southern Methodist 1: Armando Melendez’s 72nd-minute penalty kick pulled the Lions even, and they settled for a draw _ their second in SMU’s Mi Cocina Classic in Dallas. Duke Hashimoto gave SMU a 43rd-minute lead. Both teams finished the game with 10 men, as LMU’s Stephen Carlson was red-carded in the 85th minute and SMU’s Ryan Mirsky was sent off upon receiving his second yellow card in overtime. Tulsa, which LMU tied 1-1 on Friday, won the tournament after beating Saint Louis 4-1. LMU’s Matthew Mejia and Robert Flores were selected to the all-tournament team. Cal Lutheran 9, Whittier 0: The Kingsmen (1-0-1) romped to an easy victory in their Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Association opener, scoring five goals in the first half and coasting from there. Josh Moskowitz scored two goals and assisted two more for Cal Lutheran, and Chris Estes and Keegan Thompson each contributed a goal and an assist. Redlands 2, Occidental 0: Will Roradd converted a 32nd-minute penalty kick, and Sergio Juarez scored in the 80th minute as visiting Redlands (3-2) topped Oxy (1-4) in an SCIAC opener. WOMEN’S SOCCER: CAL LUTHERAN NOTCHES FIRST WIN Raechal Carr scored two goals and Mae Des Rosiers set up a pair as Cal Lutheran opened its SCIAC season with a 3-0 victory over visiting Whittier. The Regents (1-2-2) scored all three goals in the first 15 minutes, with Tiffany Pfeifer netting the first in the fourth minute and Carr adding goals in the 12th and 14th minutes. Cal Lutheran dominated the match, outshooting the Poets 25-5 and taking 10 corner kicks. Occidental 1, Redlands 1: Tessa Napoles’ goal from distance in the 84th minute rallied Oxy to a draw in an SCIAC opener at Redlands. Taylor Olson scored for Redlands in the eighth minute. The Master’s 2, Menlo 1: Jill Oldright scored goals in the 35th and 78th minutes as the visiting Mustangs won in Atherton. Oldright’s second goal, from Katie McMannis’ assist, broke a 1-1 tie forged when Menlo’s Katie Gravett tallied in the 66th minute. CROSS COUNTRY: UCLA’S RAMOS WINS IN SEATTLE UCLA junior Austin Ramos won the men’s 8K race at the Sun Dodger Invitational at Lincoln Park in Seattle, leading the Bruins to a third-place finish. Ramos covered the course in 24 minutes. UCLA scored 74 points, trailing Washington (39) and Portland (66). UCLA’s women finished second, 11 points behind Washington, as three Bruins ran in the top 10. Junior Ashley Caldwell was third, covering 6 kilometers in 21:04, sophomore Claire Rethmeier (21:15) was fifth, and sophomore Monika Rothenburger (21:17) was 10th. MEN’S WATER POLO: UCLA, USC REACH SOCAL SEMIS UCLA and USC advanced to Sunday’s semifinals of the Southern California Tournament, romping to easy pool-play victories in one of college water polo’s biggest events. Defending NCAA champion UCLA (6-0) routed Bucknell 12-2, then topped tournament host UC Irvine 9-7 to advance to a championship semifinal game against Stanford (5-0). David Pietsch scored four goals against Bucknell and three against the Anteaters. USC (3-0), the defending tournament champion, dominated Redlands 12-2 and beat Long Beach State 12-6 to reach a semifinal matchup with California (6-0). Juan Delgadillo scored three goals in both games for USC. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREThe top 10 theme park moments of 2019 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

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