The Chandlers also worked hard to avoid any major tax hit in the Tribune's purchase of Times Mirror.
If the family were to tender its shares in a stock buyback, it could be forced to pay capital gains tax on any profit accumulated over the years. And that would be a bitter pill to swallow, having already watched the stock's slide in the last two years to a price below the one the family accepted when Tribune bought Times Mirror.
Asked about the Chandlers' intentions during a May 30 conference call, FitzSimons said: "I don't think you should read anything into the Chandler decision or no decision; it's just that they're evaluating what their position will be relative to the tender."
Tuesday's move offered more reading material.
"Who knows now whether [the Chandlers] are trying to stir things up, creating opportunities and leverage for themselves," said one source close to the situation.
What's clear is that the tangle of relationships between Tribune and the Chandlers will be difficult to unravel.
The Wall Street Journal, citing unnamed sources, reported Wednesday that a critical sticking point between the Chandlers and Tribune is a disagreement over the valuation of the two large partnerships inherited from Times Mirror.
The article said the Chandlers are concerned that Tribune's maneuver might impinge on the "tax efficiency" of the partnerships.
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