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Tribune cancels employee stock plan

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Chicago, ILMedia conglomerate the Tribune Company, owner of such journalistic stalwarts as the LA Times, the Chicago Tribune and the Sun Sentinel, has announced that it will be canceling its employee stock plan once the company's bankruptcy protection elapses in the next year.

In place of the canceled employee stock option plan (ESOP), the company has announced the creation of a new employee 401k retirement plan which plans to match the first two percent of pay on the dollar, and the following four percent at $.50 per dollar.

The company is also expected to begin a profit sharing plan that will allow employees to earn shares of incentives from company profits.

The cancellation eliminates tax breaks afforded the company prior to its leveraged buyout by billionaire Sam Zell and a group of investors in 2007.

Employees enrolled in the ESOP will still be able to earn their first share payout at the end of the calendar year, according to the LA Times, though the shares of Tribune stock are currently valued at zero on the New York Stock Exchange.

It is estimated that employees in US have lost more than $1.5 billion in the past several years due to the cancellation of ESOPs.

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