SBJ: Snag in Cubs sale

The Sports Business Journal has multiple sources saying the exclusive negotiating period between the Tribune Co. and Cubs bidder Tom Ricketts expired last month. The Tribune entered exclusive negotiations with Ricketts in January, when the company selected him over two other bidders to buy the Cubs, Wrigley Field and a 25 percent stake in regional cable network Comcast SportsNet.

There was no comment from representatives for Ricketts or the Tribune.

According to the SBJ article, the problem appears to be the level of involvement Tribune’s WGN would have in the Cubs post-sale. WGN has been paying below market rates for broadcast rights to the games, and Ricketts wants that to change, sources said. The Tribune side has said that the terms bidders agreed to in November outlined WGN’s role, the sources said.

What is not at issue is Ricketts’ financing for the deal, the sources said. Another SBJ source expressed optimism a deal would be done soon, saying it would be hard for Tribune to go back out to the market looking for another buyer. Ricketts has his debt and equity lined up for the $900 million offer, though he is seeking up to a $50 million price reduction because of the WGN issue.

– Carrie Muskat

6 Comments

I have never seen a deal take as long as this. I am a business professional.. and multi-billion dollar deals get done quicker than this. What a joke!

I agree…to think that they were saying this could be done before May is crazy. We are in June and they will be lucky to have it done before November. Would not be shocked to see this deal get dragged on for a long time. This team is like your rich in-laws seem to have everything going for them but on this inside have tons of problems. As a Cubs fan this has been the longest most painful year in a while which only looks to get worse.

whatever it takes to complete the deal so we can unload Hendry. DeRosa.

“According to the SBJ article, the problem appears to be the level of involvement Tribune’s WGN would have in the Cubs post-sale.”

Translation: WGN will be just another TV station in Chicago.

Could the delay be due to a contingency clause involving Hendry getting both DeRosa back (who would be leading the Cubs in RBI) AND Marquis (who would be leading the Cubs in wins)? But Hendry refuses to give up Freel, Heilman and Miles in the deal??? HA! There’s probably a sanity clause on the table and until Hendry is fired the sanity clause kicks in and prevents the completion of the sale. I know…there’s no such thing as Sanity Clause. DeRosa!

No, that would be a Santi Claus. DeRosa.

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