The final bidder for the sale of the Chicago Cubs, Wrigley Field, and a 25 percent stake in Comcast SportsNet Chicago has been selected by the Tribune Co. according to the Chicago Tribune. The details of the final selection, along with details from the other three bidders has been passed along to a committee for the unsecured creditors of Tribune, with the bidders names removed and only a number associated to the bids, according to the report.
While the creditors hold no ultimate veto power in the selection process, Tribune “wants to get the committee's consent in order to keep the case friendly.”
It is uncertain if the committee will bless the deal in a regularly scheduled meeting on Thursday, but if so, it will most likely lock in the finalist.
While the selection of the finalist is a key step in the completion of the sale process, it is by no means done. The finalist will move into an exclusive negotiating window with which to complete the sale agreement. From that point, MLB’s ownership committee would have to approve the selection, and then 75 percent of MLB’s 30 owners would need to approve by vote to make the ownership transfer final.
The three finalists include Thomas Ricketts, chief executive of Chicago investment bank Incapital LLC and the son of Joseph Ricketts, the founder of TD Ameritrade Holding Corp, Marc Utay, a managing partner with New York-based private equity firm Clarion Capital Partners LLC; and Chicago real estate executive Hersh Klaff.
A key issue has been the icy environment the credit markets are in. Bidders are reportedly raising concerns that each day that passes, gaining the needed credit to complete the deal becomes more difficult.
Crane Kenney, chairman of the Cubs, has said that Tribune would like to complete the deal by opening day.
Maury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is contributor to Baseball Prospectus, and is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.
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