WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) — Creditors unhappy with Tribune Co.'s plan to exit bankruptcy protection are asking a judge to halt it while they appeal.

The judge in Delaware approved the plan last month. But some creditors are challenging the settlement of legal claims stemming from Tribune's 2007 leveraged buyout and the treatment of certain bondholders under the plan.

Some creditors, including billionaire developer Sam Zell, also want permission to bypass a federal district court and take their challenges directly to a federal appeals court in Philadelphia. Zell, who orchestrated the buyout that left Tribune with nearly $13 billion in debt, ranks at the bottom of creditors in claims priority.

Tribune CEO Eddy Hartenstein testified Friday that the company would suffer significant financial hardships if the plan is put on hold. The judge is expected to rule early next week.