The completed sale of the Chicago Cubs from the Tribune Co. to a group led by Thomas Ricketts will most likely not occur until after the season starts, according to Cubs chairman Crane Kenney. According to comments to The AP, the sale agreement between Tribune and Ricketts is moving forward, but the approval from MLB would most likely not occur until the next quarterly owners meeting set for May.
"There's a negotiation that's occurring, and like every negotiation, there's an issue or two that probably wasn't spotted early that needed to be resolved," [Kenney] said. "None of them are in any way fatal to the transaction. It's standard stuff, I would say. And the credit markets are challenging, and this is a transaction that will have some amount of debt on it."
"The Ricketts family and the Tribune are very close to the terms of their deal, which is the first domino that needs to fall," Kenney said. "From there, because of the Tribune bankruptcy, we need to have a court involved to approve the terms of the transaction supporting the creditors, who, obviously have a great interest in seeing how this transaction unfolds."
In terms of completing the approval process at the MLB level, Kenney said that Commissioner Selig would be supportive of expediting the executive committee and owners vote as soon as possible.
"(He) has assured me he'll do whatever it takes to jump through hoops, if that's what's necessary at various committee levels within baseball, to get this finished," Kenney said. "I think it will be a challenge to make opening day. If I were to tell you we were going to make opening day, everything would have to fall into place just perfectly, and the world's an imperfect place, so I would say that's probably unlikely."
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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