The Tribune Co. has accepted the purchase offer from Sam Zell, the Chicago area billionaire, for approx. $8.2 billion. Tribune Co. owns several dailies, including the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, 23 television stations, WGN Radio, and the Chicago Cubs.
While the Tribune owns the Cubs, it appears that Zell may not wish to retain them.
In an interesting twist, the AP is reporting that:
Tribune said it also plans to sell the Cubs baseball team at the end of this season.
The reason? Zell owns part of the White Sox. MLB rules prohibit such practice, but recall at one point John Henry owned parts of the Yankees, Marlins, and Red Sox before unloading all assets in the Marlins and Yankees to gain principal ownership of the Red Sox.
Back to the deal... As further reported:
Tribune said the buyout will be conducted as a two-part deal. The first stage, expected to be completed in the second quarter, will involve a cash tender offer of $34 per share for 126 million shares, more than half of the outstanding Tribune shares. The remaining shares will be purchased later at the same $34 per share price.
As we reported last week, Los Angeles billionaires Eli Broad and Ron Burkle made a bid for Tribune valued at bid at $34 per share, which would have been a higher offer than Zell.
In a separate AP article, other aspects that pertain directly to the Cubs and Tribune's Comcast holdings are mentioned:
"The Cubs have been an important part of Tribune for more than 25 years and are one of the most storied franchises in all of sports," said Dennis FitzSimons, Tribune chairman, president and chief executive officer. "In our last season of ownership, the team has one mission, and that is to win for our great fans."
Tribune said the company's 25 percent interest in Comcast SportsNetChicago would be part of the sale package.