Cubs Bidders Identity Revealed

The sale of the Chicago Cubs franchise is heating up with the inital round of 10 reported groups in the bidding now reduced to 5 for the second go-round.

Crain’s Chicago Business posted this detailed article on the bidders moving to the second round of negotiations to buy the Chicago Cubs, Wrigley Field, and a 25% stake in Comcast SportsNet Chicago.  We’ve all see plenty of reports of Mark Cuban and John Canning’s Madison Dearborn Partners groups in on the bidding, but this article gives more names and backgrounds on those groups moving on in the process.  Canning’s group is not among them, but I do not count them out.  His is full of A-Lister Chicago moguls and Canning himself is already an approved minority shareholder in the Brewers franchise.  I still think he has the inside track, but apparently Mark Cuban won’t fail for lack of trying.  This could get very interesting…

2 more bidders make cut to buy Cubs

July 25, 2008

(Reuters) — Real estate executive Hersch Klaff and media investor Leo Hindery are among the five groups Tribune Co. approved to continue bidding on the Chicago Cubs baseball team, sources briefed on the matter said. Tribune narrowed the potential list of bidders for the Cubs and the other assets on Wednesday, eliminating any groups that had bid less than $1 billion.

The other three approved bidders are Internet billionaire Mark Cuban; Tom Ricketts, chief executive of Chicago securities and investment bank Incapital LLC and son of the founder of TD Ameritrade Holding Corp.; and Michael Tokarz, chairman of MVC Capital Inc., two sources said. Both requested anonymity because the sale process is ongoing.

The groups also are bidding on the Cubs’ home ballpark, Wrigley Field, and a 25 percent stake in a regional sports TV network.

Hindery runs private equity firm InterMedia Partners and previously ran Yes Network, the TV channel of the New York Yankees baseball team, and AT&T Broadband. A spokesman for him had no comment.

Klaff could not be reached. He is president of a privately held Chicago real estate investment company focused on acquiring U.S. office and distressed retail space.

Also approved, but teaming up with Tokarz, is a group led by New York City taxi tycoon Andrew Murstein, said a third source, who also requested anonymity.

The Tokarz group includes private equity investor and Republican operative Fred Malek, who previously bid on the Washington baseball team and was once part owner of the Texas Rangers club.

Murstein’s group, Sports Properties Acquisition Corp., includes former home run king Henry Aaron and Jack Kemp, a former U.S. congressman and star quarterback in the National Football League.

Tribune, which owns the Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times newspapers, is selling the Cubs and the other assets to cut debt it took on when it went private in an $8.2 billion deal led by real estate magnate Sam Zell.

Tribune plans to keep a 5 percent stake in the team in a deal that could save the company millions of dollars in taxes, a source previously told Reuters.

A Tribune spokesman said the company would not comment on the sales process other than to say officials are focused on maximizing the return.

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    July 25, 2008   Posted in: biz of baseball, Team Ownership, Wrigley Field

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    1. Chicago Realtor - July 31, 2008

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