Skip to comments.Tribune talking with other potential buyers on Cubs sale (Dinosaur Media DeathWatch™)
Posted on 06/19/2009 11:58:19 AM PDT by abb
For Tribune Co. boss Sam Zell, it's time to play hardball on the sale of his baseball team.
Tribune said Thursday it has opened negotiations with other bidders in the sale of the Cubs. People involved in the process said Zell is trying to increase pressure on the Ricketts family to close a deal for around $900 million.
After exclusively negotiating with Ricketts, no deal has closed, but one insider said it's close. Sources said Tribune, which is in bankruptcy court, has reopened talks with a New York-based investment group that includes investors Marc Utay and Leo Hindery.
Chicago-based bond dealer Thomas Ricketts is directing his family's bid. Talks have bogged down over the value of the Cubs broadcasting deal with Tribune-owned WGN-Channel 9 and WGN-AM and Comcast SportsNet Chicago, in which it has a 25 percent stake.
A statement from Tribune spokesman Gary Weitman said, "We continue an active dialogue with the Ricketts family with an eye toward reaching a definitive agreement. In addition, we are assessing other alternatives. Our goal -- and responsibility -- is to pursue a transaction that is in the best interest of the company. We won't comment on specifics of any potential transaction."
Ricketts refused comment when reached on his way home from Thursday's Cub-Sox matchup. Utay said, "If and when I actually re-engage in this process, I wouldn't tell anybody anyway."
Zell and Ricketts are believed to be less than $50 million apart on terms. Sources said there also is broad agreement on the debt Ricketts would carry.
Tribune wants the transaction structured with debt and probably will keep a sliver of ownership, both techniques for minimizing capital gains taxes.
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WGN should be part of the package deal in selling the Cubs. In my mind, WGN exists for one reason and one reason only; broadcasting Cub games. Who in their right minds thinks that the 342nd re-run of America’s Stupidest Videos will get more viewers than a Cubs-Cards game?
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Freepers who are Cubs fans should be rooting for the Rickett’s family... Good long time conservatives. That’s probably slowing down negotiations.
And I agree with you about WGN.
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Less than 50 million apart is still a significant amount of money even in a transaction of almost 1 billion. Zell has to get maximum value for the Cubs asset. As soon as the lending market loosens he needs to start divesting other Tribune properties. Get away from the media business Sam.
It’s too late. The Tribune Company (LA Times, Orlando Sentinel, Chicago Tribune, et al) is a husk - all the innards have rusted away. The only thing holding it up is the paint job.
Egads, TBS is bad since they dumped the Braves. The all night infomertials with the pencil figure women wearing seamless black pants are more interesting.
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