Posted on 23 January 2009 by Lou
Well we finally have our answer – The Tribune Co. has selected the Ricketts family as the winning bidder to purchase the Chicago Cubs. The $900 million winning bid includes the purchase of the Chicago Cubs, Wrigley Field and a 25% interest in Comcast SportsNet – the local sports television network in the Midwest.
Tom Ricketts is a member of the Ricketts family which founded TD Ameritrade Holding Corp., an online brokerage house. Tom Ricketts is the CEO of InCapital LLC which is another family enterprise. Ricketts and the Cubs now need to negotiate the final terms of the deal and then obtain approval from 75% of the owners of the other 30 MLB teams. Cubs Chairman Crane Kenney believes that the deal can be consummated prior to Opening Day 2009. Once the deal is completed, Kenney has indicated that the new ownership team would be ready to move ahead with some plans that have been put on hold for the last 2 years pending the sale of the team. Those plans include renovations to Wrigley Field – the installation of new television monitors throughout Wrigley Field and the construction of the “Triangle Building” in the lot space just west of the stadium. Who knows – maybe the new owners will even consider authorizing Cubs GM Jim Hendry to re-open negotiations with the San Diego Padres to complete a trade for their starting pitcher ace Jake Peavy. The 2 teams had made significant progress during baseball’s winter meetings in early December, but the $63 million still owed to Peavy on his current contract was just too much for the Cubs to force on the new buyer of the Cubs at the time. Peavy would certainly help the Cubs in their quest of that elusive World Series title – 100 years and counting – but as usual, the almighty dollar is always the key.
One positive about the selection of the Ricketts family – they are life-long Cubs fans. Kenney indicated that Sam Zell and his team were looking for someone who would continue to implement the long-term strategy started by Kenny and Hendry 6+ years ago. That meant someone who held the Cubs and Wrigley Field as something special and sacred. The Ricketts family fit that mold the best because they indicated that they did not intend to move the team to a Chicago suburb or demolish Wrigley Field to build a new state-of-the-art facility. Ricketts himself summed it up best in a statement released to the media on Thursday night:
“My family and I are Cubs fans. We share the goal of Cubs fans everywhere to win a World Series and build the consistent championship tradition that the fans deserve.”
Thank you Tom – let’s hope your actions back up your words in the near future – Go Cubs!
Posted on 06 January 2009 by Lou
Well it looks like we could have an answer soon.
No – – – it won’t be Mark Cuban, but the Cubs have announced that they will likely name the winning bid for the Cubs within the next 2 weeks. As we discussed in a previous December blog post, 3 bidders submitted final bids to purchase the Chicago Cubs back on December 1st. The plan is for the sale to be finalized by Spring Training and the new ownership team to be in place by Opening Day 2009. This has been a long process – Chicago real estate mogul Sam Zell purchased the Tribune Co. for $8.2 billion back in April 2007. The sale of the Cubs was announced shortly thereafter, but it has taken a longtime for bidders to analyze the product and the economic crisis facing the nation hasn’t helped matters.
Once the winning bidder is announced, the ownership group will need to be approved by 75% of the current MLB owners. But at that point, I would imagine it’s just a mere formality. I doubt Cubs Chairman Crane Kenney and Zell would select a bidder who they thought might not be approved by the MLB powers that be. Stay tuned – we should have some answers soon and then maybe we can resume the Peavy-to-Cubs-trade-talks again for the 100th time…
Posted on 03 December 2008 by Lou
The deadline for the submitting bids for the purchase of the Chicago Cubs came and went on Monday, December 1st. The Cubs received bids from the following bidders:
The Tom Ricketts Group – Ricketts is the CEO of Incapital LLC, a Chicago-based investment bank.
The Marc Utay Group – Utay is managing partner of Clarion Capital Partners LLC, a New York-based private equity firm.
The Hersh Klaff Group – Klaff is a real estate executive with strong ties in Chicago.
The Chicago Cubs did not comment on any of the bids and it is unclear how the current economic crisis affected any of the bids submitted or will affect the timing of the sale.
In a surprising turn of events, the Cubs received 1 less bid than expected. Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, who was rumored to have the top bid in the initial round of bids, chose not to submit a final bid. Cuban faces a federal civil law suit for insider trading and some felt that once federal regulators filed the suit, Cuban’s prospects of gaining approval from MLB owners would be even tougher than already expected. Several sources have speculated that MLB Commissioner Bud Selig and the “old boy” owners network would never allow a “maverick” like Cuban into the ranks of professional baseball team owner.
We’ll keep you posted the second we hear anything about the future sale of the Cubs.
Posted on 30 November 2008 by Lou
Thanksgiving is here and gone, and that means final bids for the Cubs are due on Monday, December 1, 2008. Only 2 days left for the final 4 bidders to get their reports into the Cubs. We should get a good idea of where all the bids stand in short time – hopefully by the end of the year. Stay tuned.
ESPN filed this report of the latest Cubs Sale Update – check it out for all the details.