Sam Zell bids to buy a Network


This has nothing to do with broadcasting, but Tribune Company Chairman Sam Zell’s private equity company has submitting a non-binding letter of interest to buy Rewards Network Inc. The publicly traded company finances restaurant equipment loans paid off through dining rewards programs.

Zell’s Equity Group Investments LLC (EGI) already owns a 14.4% stake in Rewards Network, which trades on Nasdaq as “DINE.” It has made the tentative offer to buy out other shareholders for $13.50 per share, which would value the company at around $120 million. The letter said EGI expected to use about $60 million in new debt to finance the deal.

The letter noted that the $13.50 offer was a 36% premium to the closing price on Tuesday, before the letter was delivered to the board of directors. EGI calculated that the offer was a 12% premium to the average price of the shares over the past 12 months. DINE traded as high as $15.53 over the past 52 weeks.

Shares shot up slightly above the $13.50 offer on Wednesday after the bid was publicly disclosed.