Cubs Sale Process Takes One Step Forward, Fifty Million Steps Back
It had been days since we'd heard a new reason why the Cubs-to-Ricketts deal still hasn't been closed, but then on Monday, Crain's Chicago Business ended the wait:
The Ricketts family, whose original bid was close to $900 million, now
believes the real price should be closer to $850 million, a source
said. The sides disagree over the value of the team’s multiyear
contract to broadcast games on Tribune’s WGN network.
At issue is about $40 million to $50 million — roughly 6% of the
original bid, which also includes Wrigley Field and a 25% stake in
regional cable channel Comcast Sports.
Broadcasters pay sports teams for the right to air games. The contract
between the Cubs and WGN, which was inked last fall, might have been
set too low, given that the broadcaster and the sports team have been
owned by the same parent: Tribune Co.
This latest delay comes a few days after the Ricketts family had finally cleared another hurdle on their way to the purchase, securing a $350 million loan from J. P. Morgan Chase & Co., Citigroup Corp.
and Bank of America.
Ricketts...has held separate discussions with a handful of
celebrities to raise money from them and other wealthy Cubs fans
willing to pony up as much as $25 million. In addition to (Bill) Murray, he's
met with Jim Belushi and John Cusack,
said two sources familiar with Ricketts' proposal. The meetings took
place several weeks ago, and sources were not sure if the talks had