Will a new owner mean new fortunes for a team without a World Series appearance for 64 years? From AP-
Media conglomerate Tribune Co. announced a definitive agreement Friday to sell all but a 5 percent stake in the Chicago Cubs and Wrigley Field to the billionaire Ricketts family, capping a tortuous process that began nearly 2Â½ years ago.
Tribune valued the transaction at about $845 million.
“Our family is thrilled to have reached an agreement to acquire a controlling interest in the Chicago Cubs, one of the most storied franchises in sports,” said Joe Ricketts, who founded the Omaha, Neb.-based online brokerage TD Ameritrade Holding Corp. “The Cubs have the greatest fans in the world, and we count our family among them.”
Tribune had announced on Opening Day in 2007 that the marquee baseball franchise and historic ballpark would be sold at the end of that season. But the process was slowed by CEO Sam Zell’s efforts to maximize sale profits, the collapse of the credit markets and Tribune’s 2008 bankruptcy filing.
The Ricketts family, tentatively selected as the winning bidder last January, had agreed to pay about $900 million for the team, Wrigley and a 25 percent stake in Comcast SportsNet Chicago, which broadcasts many Cubs games.
But that total was renegotiated, with Tribune retaining a small stake for legal reasons.
The sale figure exceeds the record $660 million paid for the Boston Red Sox in 2002, although that deal did not include a ballpark.
Tom Ricketts* is a investment banker, and along with his son, are long-time Chicago Cub fans.
I wonder how long Wrigley Field still has to go as a major league baseball stadium. It is nearly 100 years old. If there any Cub fans among my readers, please enlighten me on that subject.
*- There was a former MLB catcher and long-time coach by that name, Dave Ricketts. He passed away last year I wonder if the new owners are related to him.
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