May 29, 2009

Cubs owner casts doubt on sale

The head of Tribune Co., which owns the Chicago Cubs, said he is sure there will be other buyers if the sale of the team to the Ricketts family falls through.

Sam Zell, chairman and chief executive of Tribune Co., said in April the sale of the Cubs to the wealthy family for about $900 million was on track for the end of May, but he cast doubt on the sale Thursday by entertaining the possibility that the family might not be able to close the deal, the Chicago Tribune reported.

The newspaper is owned by Tribune Co.

We've made it very public that the Cubs don't fit into the long-term picture of the Tribune, Zell said. So if the Ricketts deal doesn't get done, I'm sure there will be other ones.

The Ricketts family was chosen as the winning bidders after a drawn-out auction that ended in January. Zell said the current state of the credit market has contributed to the delay of the sale.

These are very difficult times, he said. These are difficult times to arrange financing.

However, Zell said officials were working with the family to finalize the sale.

We're basically trying to reach the end of the rope here, he said.