Thomas Ricketts' stock is on the rise, while two other bidders see their chances sinking in the on-going drama that is the sale of the Chicago Cubs, Wrigley Field, and a twenty-five percent stake in Comcast Sports Chicago.
With five approved bidders remaining, a marriage between two of the groups has already resulted in a divorce.
When a group led by Fred Malek, a Washington private equity investor, and Michael Tokarz, a New York businessman who is an Illinois native, was said to be joining the Sports Properties Acquisition Corp. (SPA) group, it was seen as a move to form a group that would have deep pockets and match MLB’s preferred ownership profile. Hall of Famer Henry Aaron and former Senator Jack Kemp are the figureheads of Sports Properties Acquisition. Now, both groups may be out of the running, although SPA looks ready to play the wild card. As reported by the Chicago Tribune:
Andrew Murstein, vice chairman of Sports Properties Acquisition, declined to comment on why the two bidders declined to team up. But with $216 million sitting in the bank, the company could make an attractive partner for another bidder, Murstein said.
"We consider ourselves a free agent and feel whichever group we join, if any, will be in a very good position to win," said Murstein, who runs a New York investment firm. He added that the company has been approached by three other bidders but declined to name them.
Malek, a former bidder for the Washington Nationals, and Tokarz could not be reached for comment.
Meanwhile, Thomas Ricketts' bid appears to be gaining steam. With deep pockets (his father, Joe, is the founder of Ameritrade), and strong family ties, the Ricketts bid fits MLB ownership mold (see the approval of the Lerner family for the Washington Nationals as a recent example).
Others in the mix for the Cubs include Dallas Mavericks owner, Mark Cuban, Chicago real estate executive Hersch Klaff, and a group led by New York private equity investors Marc Utay and Leo Hindery, Jr.
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