CHICAGO – The Tribune Co. board of directors is considering an offer from real estate magnate Sam Zell to take the company private, but is leaning toward restructuring the company on its own, according to published reports. The company, whose properties include the Los Angeles Times, appointed a special board committee in September to review prospective offers. Pressured by a long-slumping stock price, the board intends to decide on a plan to increase shareholder value by the end of March, company officials said. The board would prefer recapitalization involving a spinoff of Tribune’s television stations and the payment of a bid dividend to shareholders, The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday on its Web site. The proposal from Chicago-based Zell would involve buying the entire company with participation from an employee stock ownership plan, The New York Times reported for today’s editions. The deal would be highly leveraged, but employee stock plans have many tax advantages, including the ability to write off interest on debt, the Times reported. Zell’s spokeswoman did not return calls Sunday to The Associated Press; nor did Tribune spokesman Gary Weitman. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!