By: E&P Staff
First bids for the sale of the Tribune Company-owned Chicago Cubs, Wrigley Field, and a stake in a sports network are due by the end of today’s business day and could reach as high as $1 billion, according to a Reuters report.
Tribune Co. Chairman/CEO Sam Zell announced plans to sell the Cubs, Wrigley Field, and a 25% stake in Comcast Sportsnet Chicago in December 2007 after Zell took the company private.
Zell initially intended to sell the club by opening day of this season, but an attempted deal to sell Wrigley Field to the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority fell through last month after the state agency announced it could not agree to the terms set by Tribune, which counts among its holdings the Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times newspapers in addition to several television stations and WGN-AM radio in Chicago.
The Cubs currently have the best record in the National League.
The bids that will be submitted Friday are the first step in a sale process. Four or five bidders are expected to submit a new round of bids later on this season. The winner is expected to be identified at or near the end of the baseball season, and the deal is expected to be closed either at the end of this year or early next year.
Tribune is expected to keep a 5% share in the team after the sale is complete as part of a partnership structure that has tax advantages for the company, according to Reuters.