The remaining prospective bidders for the Chicago Cubs, a 25 percent stake in Comcast SportsNet Chicago, and Wrigley Field have been given a Thanksgiving Day deadline to submit details as to how they will finance the purchase, according to the Chicago Tribune.
The deal, which has a tax-avoidance structure for the Tribune Co., comes at a time when obtaining loans from the banks is exceedingly difficult due to the credit crunch.
In other news, the Tribune Co. announced yesterday that it lost $121.6 million in the third quarter of 2008. As reported by the LA Times:
During the quarter, Tribune repaid $888 million of debt using proceeds from the sale of receivables, Newsday and a 10% stake in CareerBuilder. Third-quarter operating costs rose 6.2%, including $45 million in severance costs, a $25-million software write-off and $14 million in compensation costs related to an incentive plan and the company's stock ownership plan.
"We are operating in an exceptionally difficult financial and economic environment," Chief Executive Sam Zell said in a statement. "The newspaper industry continues to see extraordinary declines in ad revenues, and Tribune is no exception."
The question is, why is Tribune, ergo Sam Zell, pushing for the Thanksgiving day deadline? With the credit markets exceptionally tight, even the reported increase to 50 percent ownership equity by Tribune makes for short window from which to work from and exceedingly difficult to complete.