The sale of the Chicago Cubs, Wrigley Field, and a 25 percent stake in Comcast SportsNet Chicago has reached a critical point as three banks have been lined up by bidder Thomas Ricketts to close the sale transaction. According to Daniel Kaplan of the SportsBusiness Journal:
JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup and Bank of America are set to commit to the deal as soon as the end of this week, the sources said. That commitment would allow Ricketts to submit his $900 million bid to the court thatâ€™s overseeing the bankruptcy filing of current Cubs owner Tribune Co. The court likely then would take 30 to 45 days to process the offer, one source said, leaving a potential closing ready by July.
Ricketts is looking for $450 million to complete the $900 million transaction. As further reported by the SBJ:
According to one finance source, the $450 million financing is split between a loan and a fixed-rate private placement, which represents loans from institutional investors like pension funds. The bank loan portion is roughly $350 million, the source said, and the private placement, which the three banks are arranging, is about $100 million.
If Sam Zell of the Tribune Co. approves the sale, the final hurdles would involve a recommendation by MLBâ€™s Ownership Committee, and then a vote by three-quarters of MLBâ€™s owners to approve the ownership transfer.
With the next MLB owners meetings set for this week, the final approval by face-to-face meeting would need to take place in August. However, the vote could take place via conference call. If so, and the vote moves in Rickettsâ€™ favor, as expected, the ownership transfer could be completed by July.
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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