Cubs Sale Going About As Well As Cubs Postseason

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The Cubs are still up for sale. The general assumption was that with the team and Wrigley Field all part of the package, the winning bid would be over $1B. But like anything that has a price tag attached to it these days, the whole thing is becoming a tough sell. It appears the final price will be lower than those original estimates.

The Chicago Cubs, who bombed out in this year's playoffs, may be no closer to getting $1 billion in a sale than they are to a World Series.

Sources said Friday that the credit crisis has trimmed what investors are willing to pay Tribune Co. for the team. Tribune Chairman Sam Zell has been trying to hold firm on his billion-dollar asking price, offering seller financing.

But sources said buyers are reacting coolly to that plan because they think a partnership with Tribune could be a disaster. Some financial analysts believe Tribune could default on debt due around mid-2009.

You can see the problems here pretty clearly. The Tribune company wants to keep an approximately 5% share of the team, to avoid taxes that I assume are associated with a full sale. But with newfound buyer reticence (even with Zell offering Seller Financing), the Tribune may need to assume a larger share than that and as you just read, that will be a problem come next year. What potential buyer wants a partner with a forecast like that?

Everyone knows that newspapers are suffering. It's one of the inescapable "new realities" of this century, like global warming or musicians created by The Disney Channel. The idea is so ingrained in our minds that it's easy to assume the turbulence of this sale stems from the Tribune's involvement. But you have to think that team values are down all across baseball. The Red Sox sale for $700M in 2002 looked exorbitant and then 2 years later, like a steal. As the economic fortunes of the country went, so did the fortunes of baseball and sports in general. I'd be hard pressed to put any realistic sale price on the Red Sox now. It's a total crapshoot.

We know that much of the country's prosperity was more imagined than real, and the sale of a baseball team is a pretty tangible way for a dope like me to see the correction. I only know one thing to be true in this entire story. Mark Cuban still has a snowball's chance in hell of buying the Cubs.


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1 Comments

"new realities" of this century, like global warming or musicians created by The Disney Channel.

Give her a break, she's just being Miley

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