According to multiple reports on Monday, the sale of the Chicago Cubs to the Ricketts Family appears to be making progress. After reports last week loosely suggested a December timeframe, reports began surfacing Monday morning that Tom Ricketts “has lined up three banks to complete the $450 million financing his group needs to finalize his purchase of the franchise.”
The Sports Business Journal reported that JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup and Bank of America “are set to commit to the deal as soon as the end of this week.” With the commitment from the three banks and the $450 million being put up by the Ricketts, the $900 million bid would be submitted to the “court that’s overseeing the bankruptcy filing of current Cubs owner Tribune Co. The court likely then would take 30 to 45 days to process the offer leaving a potential closing ready by July.”
However, the family “may consider lowing the $900 million offer it made in January when it won the auction for the Cubs over two other bidders.” MLB owners are meeting this week (May 20-21) but could reconvene in order to approve the sale before the next scheduled owner’s meeting in August.
Crain’s Chicago Business reported that the Ricketts believe the deal should be closer to $850 million due to a disagreement over “the value of the team’s multiyear contract to broadcast games on the WGN network.” There has been talk in recent months of the Cubs having their own channel similar to the Yankees (YES) and the Red Sox (NESN).
The $50 million, or 5.5 percent of the original bid, is a “big issue“.
According to a report Monday night, Tom Ricketts has contacted Bill Murray about investing in the Cubs as well as Jim Belushi and John Cusack about investing $25 million each. The meetings reportedly took place several weeks ago and the sides are not commenting.