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Oaktree Capital Management
Part one: Zell's big gamble
Part one: Zell's big gamble

Aside from the business suit he was wearing, which he joked was rented for the occasion, Sam Zell was never more himself than when he appeared at a New York lender conference in April 2007 to hawk his $8.2 billion buyout of Tribune Co. Slinging one-liners and a couple of his trademark expletives, the self-assured billionaire held a crowd of potential backers in thrall as he explained why he was willing to bet his reputation on a transaction that other major investors had passed on. "Nothing like inviting a rock star to a bank meeting," quipped Jimmy Lee, the vice chairman of JPMorgan Chase & Co., as he introduced Zell to a standing-room-only...

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