Thursday, April 17, 2008

Zell says Trib Co. may sell Cubs, Wrigley together

I understand the need to maximize any potential profit but this wasn't a very smart move to begin with. If he hadn't made the rash decision of selling the Cubs and Wrigley field separately he'd have had his money already. Leave that up for negotiation and I wish the idea had never been floated to possibly sell Wrigley Field to the state of Illinois. Illinois has bigger issues than some baseball stadium. From Crain's today...
n an about-face, Tribune Co. CEO Sam Zell said he may end up selling the Cubs and Wrigley Field as a package, despite months of negotiations to split the assets in a bid to maximize his take from the deal.

That would be good news for many potential Cubs owners, who were worried about the prospect of not having control over the ball park in which their team would play.

The sale of the Chicago Cubs, first announced last year, has been on hold for months as Mr. Zell negotiated to sell Wrigley Field to the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority. Now, Tribune will formally start the bidding process for the team, whether it has a deal with the state-owned agency or not.

“We are trying to do what we think is the optimal transaction with the Illinois Sports Authority,” Mr. Zell said on a conference call with investors Thursday. “We are simultaneously running with a book on the Cubs going both ways — with or without the sports authority. We expect that process to begin in 10 days to 2½ weeks.”

The Tribune expects to complete the sale this year, Mr. Zell said.

Mr. Zell also says he's considering selling some of the media conglomerate's assets because of worse-than-expected revenue. He cites "significant erosion" in revenue as prompting him to reconsider his plan to keep the newly private company intact.

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