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Tribune Co. gets OK to exit marathon bankruptcy

Tribune Co. won final approval Monday to exit bankruptcy protection, giving a group of investors control of the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times and media properties, court documents showed.

Pedestrians walk near the Tribune Tower, headquarters of the Tribune Company in June 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. Tribune Co. won final approval Monday to exit bankruptcy protection, giving a group of investors control of the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times and media properties, court documents showed.

US bankruptcy judge Kevin Carey signed the final order after indicating last week he would approve the plan with several changes

The plan would allow a group of hedge funds and banks based in Los Angeles and New York to take over the once high-flying media company, which filed for bankruptcy protection in December 2008.

The Chicago Tribune, the company's flagship newspaper, reported the company can now move ahead on a plan to transfer its TV and radio broadcast licenses to the new owners.

The daily said the owners will be seeking $1.1 billion in new debt financing and a $300 million line of credit for the reorganization plan.

According to the newspaper, creditors led by New York investment fund Aurelius Capital Management plan to appeal the judge's decision, which dismissed a number of unsecured claims.

The new owners are led by Oaktree Capital Management, Angelo Gordon & Co. and JPMorgan Chase & Co.

According to company data, the newspaper group has shrunk in value to roughly $623 million, while its 23 television stations are worth $2.9 billion.

It has some $2 billion in equity in other assets including the Food Network and CareerBuilder.com.

Sam Zell, a Chicago real estate titan, led an $8 billion leveraged buyout of the Tribune Co. in 2007 before the company declared bankruptcy the next year, with $13 billion in debt.

It sold the Chicago Cubs baseball franchise and its iconic stadium, Wrigley Field, in 2009.