UPDATE #2: The New York Times reports that, "The draft of the agreement has been sent to Major League Baseball, which will review it and make a recommendation to the owners of the other franchises, who must sign off on the deal."
UPDATE #1: Due to Chapter 11 bankruptcy by Tribune, a court will also have approve the sale.
It took far longer than was expected, but Reuters is reporting that a deal has been approved by Sam Zell and the Tribune Co. to sell the Chicago Cubs, Wrigley Field, and a 25 percent stake in Comcast SportsNet Chicago to Thomas Ricketts for “slightly less than the original $900 million bid, a source familiar with the deal said on Monday.”
"There is a deal between the Ricketts and Tribune Co," said the source, who asked not to be identified because the agreement has not been announced.
Spokesmen for Ricketts and Tribune Co were not immediately available to comment.
The deal had been held up over Ricketts pulling back by as much as $40-$50 million based upon Tribune paying below market rate on for media rights to the Tribune held outlets WGN-TV, WGN Radio, and Comcast SportsNet Chicago.
If the sale agreement is finalized, the next steps would be approval by MLB’s Executive Committee, followed by a vote by all 30 owners in the league. Club transfers require approval by 75 percent of the league’s owners. The transfer to Ricketts is expected to pass without conflict.
The next quarterly owners meeting is set for August. A vote could take place before then via conference call, if the league so desires.
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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