It’s been for-freaking-ever in the offing, but the sale of the Chicago Cubs from the hilariously mismanaged hands of Sam Zell is complete.
While Zell struggled with finances during the entirety of his short tenure at the head of the Tribune Company, whose assets include ownership of the team, buyer Tom Ricketts and his family should prove to be able owners whose finances aren’t tied to the newspaper industry.
Per the CHICAGO TRIBUNE:
The Chicago Cubs will have a new owner, and it’s who everyone expected it to be back in January.
Tribune Co. said Friday that it signed an agreement to sell the iconic franchise to the Ricketts family. The family is paying about $800 million to acquire a 95 percent interest in a package of assets: the team, Wrigley Field and Tribune Co.’s 25 percent stake in Comcast SportsNet Chicago, which broadcasts many Cubs games on cable television.
The agreement values the franchise and related assets at $845 million, less than the Rickett’s winning bid in January of $900 million. Tribune Co. will retain a 5 percent ownership stake in the joint venture.
Thus the inherent stupidity of round numbers: the actual value of the franchise was a full six percent lower than the winning bid.
Anyway, the real story isn’t that the Cubs were sold to the Ricketts family, but that it took so damn long. Recall that Tribune execs, furious with the slow progress of the sale that began in January, opened the process back up to other bidders and approved a deal with Marc Utay and his coterie of investors last month. Obviously, that didn’t work either.
So even after the distractions of Ricketts looking for money from local pretend-Cubs-fan C-list celebrities like Jim Belushi, or looking for money from basically everyone else in Chicago, the deal has gone through and it is done.
We still don’t know how the Ricketts family got over the violation-level debt figures we brought up last month, but apparently the MLB’s okay with the deal. So there it goes.
Enjoy, Ricketts clan! Just don’t expect any championships, like, ever.