| NEW YORK/CHICAGO
NEW YORK/CHICAGO Jan 22 Bidding for the Chicago
Cubs baseball team is being narrowed down, with one of the three
remaining proposals a favored bid, a source familiar with the
situation said on Thursday.
It was unclear which of the three bidders has been selected.
However, the source said groups led by Tom Ricketts, chief
executive of Chicago investment bank Incapital LLC and the son
of the founder of TD Ameritrade Holding Corp (AMTD.O); and Marc
Utay, a managing partner with New York-based private equity firm
Clarion Capital Partners LLC, have moved ahead of Chicago real
estate executive Hersh Klaff.
Tribune Co, which owns the Cubs, has wrestled with the
differences in the bids submitted by Ricketts and Utay, whose
group includes private equity chief Leo Hindery, three sources
familiar with the process said. Ricketts' bid includes more cash
up front, while Utay's offers a higher overall value.
One source said Ricketts appeared to be the favored bidder,
but that could not be confirmed.
Tribune filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last
month due to its heavy debt load and the weak U.S. publishing
sector. It put the Cubs on the block in April 2007, when Tribune
agreed to an $8.2 billion buyout led by real estate magnate Sam
Bidders are anxious to take control of the team, which has
not won a World Series title since 1908 but is nationally
recognized due to its history as lovable losers and its national
exposure on cable TV.
While the Cubs are not part of the bankruptcy, creditors
must sign off on the deal because they will receive any
proceeds, which analysts have said could approach $1 billion.
Tribune officials and a spokesman for the attorneys
representing the creditors declined to comment, as did Utay and
Ricketts. Klaff could not be reached.
(Additional reporting by Robert MacMillan in New York, editing
by Matthew Lewis)