[Sam Zell, seen here in his JDate photo, awaits your bid for the Chicago Cubs.]
Round two of bidding for the Chicago Cubs is closed, and reports out of Chicago are that Mark Cuban is not among the suitors. There is the possibility that he let stand his previous offer, rumored to top anyone else by $300 million, made prior to the recession and the SEC indictment against him for insider trading. But, with banks as tight as they are with cash these days, it remains to be seen who can match Cuban’s initial bid in today’s climate (or if he still can).
Taking the pessimistic view, with Cuban reportedly only putting up $100 million of the $1.3 B he proposed, it seems Cub fans may have to settle on the three suitors now bidding: a NY investor, the Ricketts family, and Chicagoan Hersh Klaff. In the plus column,they’re not the Tribune corporation. In the minus column, these are the guys baseball owning class prefers, which can’t be a good thing. Carrie Muskat, of the Cubs MLB site, offers a qualified accounting of the bidding. (“Apparently,” Carrie, “apparently?”). And then there’s this report from the Chicago Tribune, owned by the same company that owns the Cubs, who can’t get a straight answer from anyone, either. And these people blame the internet for their lame circulation numbers.
The number that staggers the spirit, however, is the one reported below: “50%.” As in, the stake the Trib Co will retain in the Cubs to make a deal happen. That said, the “50%” solution might just be the way to loophole Cuban in and let him buy out the rest at a later date. I know, grasping at the straw to break the camel’s back and all that … Carrie Muskat, doing a swell job of cribbing from several sources, offers the this on the mlb Cub site:
Reuters reported that bids were submitted by groups led by Tom Ricketts, chief executive of Chicago investment bank Incapital LLC; Marc Utay, a managing partner with New York-based private-equity firm Clarion Capital Partners LLC; and Chicago real estate executive Hersh Klaff.
The Cubs had no comment on the bids.
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban apparently has not submitted a bid. Cuban was charged by federal regulators with insider trading last month and has not been part of the bidding for months, according to Reuters’ sources.
Monday’s round of bids came after the groups had received more detailed financial data on the Cubs, Wrigley Field, and a 25-percent stake in a regional sports TV network. The bidders had met with executives from Major League Baseball.
The Tribune Co. put the Cubs on the block on Opening Day in April 2007 when it announced it would be bought for $8.2 billion by a group led by real estate magnate Sam Zell. Analysts have said the team and other assets could attract bids topping $1 billion. But the sale has been delayed, and the country’s economic situation has led to speculation that final bids could be lower than expected.
There also have been reports that Tribune Co. could retain a stake of as much as 50 percent in the club to help complete a deal.