7/7 Cubs sale, part II

Apparently Tom Ricketts isn’t the only one in the running to buy the Cubs. The Tribune Co. is apparently “working on a deal” to sell the team, Wrigley Field and other assets to a group led by New York investor and former Chicagoan Marc Utay.

“They are not as far along as the Ricketts family but making quick progress,” a source told the Chicago Tribune on Tuesday.

It isn’t clear how Tribune Co. intends to coordinate what appears to be a new auction between the Ricketts group and Utay’s group. What is known is that the Ricketts family has been negotiating to buy the Cubs since January when Tribune Co. selected the family’s bid as its first choice after an auction that included Utay.

On Monday, the Ricketts family appeared to gain the upper hand, after it was learned that the family and Tribune Co. had sent documents over the weekend outlining a proposed deal to Major League Baseball. A second person familiar with the negotiations said Monday that the Ricketts family believed they had a “handshake deal” with Tribune Co.

Reuters news service reported Tuesday that Tribune Co. has agreed to financial terms with Utay’s group but a company spokesman said no agreements are in place.

“We have not reached an agreement on terms with any party,” Tribune spokesman Gary Weitman said.

An MLB source told the Chicago Tribune on Tuesday that the league has not received anything from Utay or Tribune Co. regarding a potential deal between the two parties.

MLB officials have begun the vetting process regarding the Ricketts’ family. Tom Ricketts had bid $900 million to purchase the Cubs, Wrigley and Tribune Co.’s 25 percent stake in Comcast SportsNet Chicago, a regional cable sports network.

— Carrie Muskat 


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