Tribune

(TRB)

said it bought back about 15% of its outstanding stock at $32.50 a share in a much-discussed leveraged repurchase announced last month.

The price is the high end of the range specified in Tribune's $2 billion Dutch auction. The company said Tuesday that in addition to shares tendered, it will repurchase 10 million shares owned by two foundations for $32.50 apiece on July 12, at which time it will begin a standard buyback for up to 20 million more shares.

Tribune's decision to conduct the Dutch auction buyback using borrowed money generated controversy and led the Chandler family, which owns about 12% of the outstanding stock, to oppose it. The family said on several occasions that Tribune should try to sell itself outright.

The company, led by CEO Dennis FitzSimons, said the repurchase plan was preferable for tax-related reasons. On Tuesday, he called the buyback a success.

"This leveraged recapitalization represents a very meaningful step in our plan to enhance value for shareholders," FitzSimons said. "Now, our priority is to improve operating performance through a combination of top-line growth initiatives and additional cost savings. We'll also continue to move forward on dispositions of non-core assets."

In premarket trading, Tribune was up $1.85, or 6%, to $32.75.