Outbidding two Los Angeles area billionaires, Chicago real estate tycoon Samuel Zell made headway in his quest to acquire the Tribune Company, as the Tribune board accepted his offer of $8.2 billion on Tuesday. With its fleet of 16 newspapers and 26 television and radio stations, Tribune boasts one of the largest (and oldest) media empires in the U.S. Zell’s offer, which envisions the institution of an employee stock-ownership plan, also encompasses $5 billion in assumed debt, bringing the total value of the deal to $13.2 billion. Contingent upon regulatory and shareholder approvals, the transaction is slated for closing later this year. Although Tribune’s ownership of television stations and newspapers in several markets, including Los Angeles, violates the FCC’s “cross-ownership” rules, the company is permitted to operate the affected stations under a temporary waiver. (Under the direction of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, the FCC is currently rewriting media ownership rules, promulgated in 2003, that would have eased cross-ownership restrictions.) Although Zell would hold two seats on the Tribune board, experts say that Zell may not have to reapply for the cross-ownership waivers, as he would own less than 50% of Tribune, with the employees holding the rest.