Magazine article Editor & Publisher

At Least 3 Bidders Step Up to Plate for Tribune's Cubs Sale

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

At Least 3 Bidders Step Up to Plate for Tribune's Cubs Sale

Article excerpt

Tribune Co. Chairman and CEO Sam Zell, anxious to sell the Chicago Cubs before the end of the year, apparently has three bidders for the baseball team and its landmark Wrigley Field. But it emerged Tuesday that the potential buyers might not include the free-spending Mark Cuban -- and the sale price may not reach the $1 billion mark that is often bandied about.

Numerous media reports, all citing unnamed sources close to the deal, said the bidders include a group led by the New York private-equity investors Mark Utay and Leo Hindery Jr.; Chicago real estate magnate Hersch Klaff; and Chicago financier Tom Ricketts, whose father J. Joe Ricketts founded the online brokerage firm TD Ameritrade Holding.

Monday was the deadline for bids for the Cubs, Wrigley Field and related real estate, and a 25% stake in Comcast SportsNet, a local cable sports channel. When Tribune finally started the auction for the properties, after trying to work out a deal in which an Illinois public authority might buy the team, 10 potential buyers were identified by various press reports. That later shrunk to five, including Cuban, the mercurial billionaire owner of the Dallas Mavericks basketball team who was believed to be ready to spend the most for the hard-luck, but lovable Cubbies. …

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