UPDATE (7/30): At least one report today confirms our report that the sale of the Cubs is close to be finalized. As we reported, a draft of the sale agreement has been sent to both the bankruptcy court and MLB. While we reported that MLB will most likely vote in the next face-to-face quarterly meetings in August, it is possible, that a teleconference vote could occur. -- Maury Brown
It’s been well over two years, but if the buzz coming into The Biz of Baseball is correct, the sale of the Chicago Cubs, Wrigley Field, and a 25 percent stake in Comcast SportsNet Chicago should be completed next month when MLB’s owners converge for their quarterly meetings. The sale will go to Thomas Ricketts who is representing the Ricketts family. Sale price is thought to be between $850M-$900M.
The buzz coincides with comments made by Sam Zell, chairman of the Tribune Co. yesterday on CNBC’s “Closing Bell.”
The sale “will get resolved … in the very near future.” Asked if Ricketts were the winning bidder, Zell said, "Maybe. What can I tell you? … The answer is it would be safe to say that Mr. Ricketts is probably the leader player in that particular scenario"
Tribune submitted approved bids from Ricketts, as well as Marc Utay, Managing Partner of Clarion Capital Partners, LLC, a private equity firm to the bankruptcy court dealing with Tribune’s Chapter 11 proceedings, and MLB. If there are no tie-ups with the bankruptcy court (to date, the Cubs have not been part of any Chapter 11 filing, although that could change), 75 percent of MLB’s owners would have to approve the sale transaction. If Ricketts is indeed the approved bidder, the vote in his favor is expected to easily pass.
Source for “Closing Bell” transcript, SportsBusiness Daily
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 (select his name in the dropdown provided).
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