Sale of Cubs May Be Completed Before End of Civilization

Some more news has trickled out on the impending sale of the Cubs and Sam Zell is hinting that the Ricketts may not be the new owner afterall (emphasis added).

"These are very difficult times. These are difficult
times to arrange financing," Zell said in an interview, adding that if
the Ricketts deal falls through, he is confident the media
company--which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in
December--will find another buyer for the ballclub.

"We’ve made it very public that the Cubs don’t fit into the long
term picture of the Tribune," he said. "So if the Ricketts deal doesn’t
get done, I’m sure there will be other ones.
"

Sure, a lot of people have $900M or so lying around to spend on the Cubs as evidenced by the three legitimate bids Zell actually received. Of those three bids, Ricketts was supposedly not the highest but offered the most money up front, so if financing is the issue, a deal that would require even more to be financed is probably not going to have much more luck than the Ricketts are having now.

Of course...financing really isn't the issue it appears. According to this story dated May 19th, the Ricketts already secured a little over $850M of that $900M original bid; $403M from the sale of stock in Ameritrade and another $450M secured in bank loans (Clarification: Technically $753M is secured with a $100M coming from a private placement by Barclays which we do not know the status of, although the Ricketts claim they can cover it if it falls through). There was that story of Ricketts looking for 10 or so investors at $25M a pop, including celebrities like John Cusack, Bill Murray and Jim Belushi, but that round of financing was supposedly not critical to get the deal done according to "sources". Crain's Chicago Business also echoes that the financing is already in place and explains the real delay.

Thomas Ricketts, who is leading his family’s bid for Tribune Co.’s Cubs, has lined up financing for the deal, but a dispute over price is delaying the transaction.


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.

So the Ricketts are either short $50M in financing and trying to talk Zell down or they really are unhappy with the broadcast rights. I'm going with option B here. It appears the Tribune made sweetheart deals with WGN radio and television to broadcast the Cubs games at below fair market value for a contract up to 10 years sometime last fall. Ricketts isn't buying any stake of WGN, but is supposedly getting a 25% stake in the Comcast sports channel that already broadcasts about 80 games a year. So naturally, if he owns the cable company he'd like more games to go on there or be sure he's getting paid the appropriate amount in any licensing deal to WGN.

So don't believe the Zell lies, the money is there for Ricketts, Zell just isn't liking the terms.


Hat tip to waxpaperbeercup that has been all over the sale process, also check out Mark Cuban's blog on why he bowed out and wasn't going to pay anything near the $1 billion asking price at this time. End of the world coming Decemeber 21st, 2012...John Cusack (Cub fan) is starring. Coincidence? I think not.

 

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Comments

according to SI, Z gets 6 games...hardly worth appealing, imo.

ESPN.com confirms 6 game suspension. Says Z won't appeal.

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=4213321

Z should shut his trap and appeal. Then when Lou wants him to serve his suspension, he can just drop the appeal.

I agree that's a soft penalty. Kind of makes sense, though, I mean he yelled and threw the ball, but the ump bumped z...

Any suspension for the ump? Didn't that guy who put his hand on Ordonez get suspended?

It looked to me like Z had blocked the plate and he was out, but was watching it at the bar. What's the official TCR opinion on the call?

Consensus seemed to have been that the ump made the right call.

He was safe.

Z blocked the plate nicely and sort of pushed Morgan back, but he did get his left hand in right before the tag or as the tag was being applied...tie going to the runner of course. I believe the Ordonez ump did not get suspended.

And the Soto slide later? I thought that was a makeup call for blowing the Z play.

Soto was safe, he definitely got his hand in before the tag.

Thanks. I was sure he was gonna be out. He needs to go back on that 2007 diet. He's hella slow.

Good Lord. Fuck you, Sam Zell.

It doesn't really bother me. It's not like the new owner is going to be throwing around cash after having dropped $.9 billion on the team. I actually expect payroll to go down over the next three years, unless the Cubs win a WS (hahahaha).

This is ridicules even by Cubs standards that is is taking this long to sell the team. 2.5 years? It would funny if it wasn't so sad. But I wouldn't ultimately care if it wasn't effecting the team and comments from Hendry seems like it is causing at least some problems. I just hope the sale goes through soon, so they don't continue to keep Hendry on for continuity sake.

hendry? really?

c'mon guy...you already got a hand full of straws, no need to grasp onto more to tie him into this as a problem.

huh?

"comments from Hendry seems like it is causing at least some problems"

c'mon...his comments on the situation were light at best...guy has a 140m team to handle.

i get where you're coming from, though.

Yeah, not blaming him in the slightest. I am sure it has been an uneasy few years in the front office with all the uncertainty.

i came down harsh vs. what i was trying to say anyway...sorry. i blame the government.

all things considered...especially considering the 140m payroll and how hands-off Zell has been...i'm pleased with his ownership so far.

Yeah, I think the team is already being run like a 'real owner' would run it. With the possible exception of making an allowance for one big contract at the deadline - but that hasn't been a problem for the last 6 years, so I don't think it's a foregone conclusion that it will be this year. The people at the Trib know they make money when the Cubs ratings and jersey sales go up.

Lineups posted...

CHC - Umpire, Umpire, Umpire, Umpire, Umpire, Umpire, Umpire, Umpire, Umpire
LAD - Umpire, Umpire, Umpire, Umpire, Umpire, Umpire, Umpire, Umpire, Umpire

I am sure there's a great joke in there, I just don't get it.

Baseball these days is all about the umpire.

i would question why soto was just watching zambrano explode
he should of got his pitcher outta there.

Ask Michael Barrett or the Gatorade machine why he didn't get in there.

(chortle)

good one!

I blame Michael Barrett for the Gatorade machine.

Recent comments

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The first 600 characters of the last 16 comments, click "View" to see rest of comment.
  • to get one of the best you have to give up one/some of your best...but it's a bit painful to watch the system's best prospect walk for any 2-3 month rental, especially one that's not an everyday player.

    crunch 9 sec ago view
  • The only player in the deal that would cause me a second thought is Gleyber Torres.

    McKinney and Crawford are decent prospects but they are bnoth redundant/replaceable in the system and Warren was really only a middle-reliever or #6 starter, so to me it's really just Torres for Chapman. And if Chapman is nails as a closer and gets the Cubs to the World Series and helps them win a World Championship that they are a less-likely to win without him,and then he walks as a FA after the season, I would absolutely make that trade again & again.   

    Arizona Phil 1 min 42 sec ago view
  • I assume Chapman will replace Richard on the roster, but who goes down when Cahill gets activated? Maybe Grimm?

    And when Soler and Coghlan get healthy, how do they fit them on the roster when they're ready to be activated?

    chitownmvp01 3 min 15 sec ago view
  • We are giving up a lot, but it's not like we're trading Addison Russell for 2+ months of Jason Hammel. When impact players become available, they are going to cost you. The other bids could also have been high.

    Having Chapman as a rental is potentially less disruptive than having him come in with an extension in place. 

    CTSteve 5 min ago view
  • Billy McKinney had season-ending knee surgery last August and came to Minor League Camp this year somewhat restricted. (He was used mostly as a DH in Cactus League Minor League Camp games), and I'm not sure he's 100% right now (he's repeating AA, and his XBH numbers are way down, like he's not getting good rotation in his lowev half). That might have been part of the reason why the trade wasn't completed right away.

    Arizona Phil 12 min 19 sec ago view
  • Rashad Crawford was a basketball star in HS (he was known as "Baby Jordan", and baseball was only his second sport) and he has plus-speed and athleticism, so when the Cubs drafted him (Keith Lockhart was the scout)  he was seen as a long-term project.  

    I was at Fitch Park the day that Rashad Crawford became a LH hitter, He waa never a switch-hitter, He went directly from being a RH hitter to a LH hitter, which I had never seen before. 

    Arizona Phil 20 min 14 sec ago view
  • I'm with Rob G and Johann here. It's not about Chapman as a pitcher. I just don't want to have to block out a real problem (the domestic violence) in order to try to enjoy the frivolous ball and stick game.

    Charlie 28 min 19 sec ago view
  • ROB G & BOB R: You're right. The QO can only be extended if the player spends the entire previous season with one club, so only the Yankees could have offered one to Chapman (if he wasn't traded). If an Article XX-B FA is traded during the season, the new club can't offer a QO. .

    Arizona Phil 29 min 9 sec ago view
  • i was going off what AZPhil said above...they keep talking about tweaking the rules, i didn't know if that had been changed or not. my winter/spring was way too hectic aside from a couple weeks vacation in janurary and i missed a lot of stuff.

    if not, this is one hell of an expensive trade for what looks to be 30-40 innings of play...including the playoffs. damn.

    crunch 40 min 25 sec ago view
  • Did the QO rules change?

    unless there's a TARDIS involved, I dont believe that's a possibility

    Rob G. 44 min 30 sec ago view
  • I didn't think you could offer a QO to a player who was traded during the season? For example, Lester was not offered a QO when the Cubs signed him.

    Rob Richardson 45 min 55 sec ago view
  • I think the assumption is that make him a Qualify Offer and he signs elsewhere next year.

    billybucks 48 min 58 sec ago view
  • cubs QO, chapman declines, cubs get a draft pick, brewers sign him for 6/90m, brewers win world series in a sweep as chapman strikes out g.torres in game 4 vs the yanks.

    crunch 49 min 29 sec ago view
  • Sorry, how are the Cubs getting a pick out of this?

    Rob G. 1 hour 6 min ago view
  • Besides what he adds to the Cubs bullpen, getting Aroldis Chapman means the Giants and Nationals (and Indians) can't get him, and that could be important come the post-season. 

    When the opponent knows Chapman is out there ready to pitch in the 9th, it can cause the other team to alter their strategy and play things differently than they otherwise might prefer to play things in the 6th, 7th, and 8th innings. 

    Arizona Phil 1 hour 8 min ago view
  • thats a lot for 2-3 months....beyond Torres it's a lot of organizational depth, but hate to use your best prospect for a rental.

    Rob G. 1 hour 10 min ago view