Baseball Primer Newsblog
— The Best News Links from the Baseball Newsstand
Monday, June 25, 2007
[T]he Tribune Co., in the wake of its $8.2 billion sale to Chicago real estate king Sam Zell, is poised to offload the lovable losers - for a price that could exceed $1 billion. And observers say that if Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig has his way, John Canning Jr., CEO of Madison Dearborn Partners, will be the Cubs’ next owner.
In Selig’s mind, Canning has three things going for him. He has deep pockets to buy the team, he has Chicago roots, and, as part owner of the Milwaukee Brewers (he’d have to sell that stake), he’s already a familiar face to the league’s owners. He’s also a big fan: Before becoming a private-equity mogul, he was a young catcher who failed in a 1962 tryout with the Atlanta Braves.
“I have enormous respect for John Canning, both as a person and as a businessman. But it’s a process that will be fair and open,” says Selig. “The Cubs are one of our treasures.”
While Canning is considered the leading contender, closing the deal may not go as smoothly as a Tinker-to-Evers-to-Chance double play. That’s because the team is being sold by a public company with a fiduciary responsibility to sell to the highest bidder.
The deal is expected to include Wrigley Field, the team’s storied ballpark, and a 25 percent stake in Comcast Sportsnet Chicago. A billion-dollar price tag would be a record sale for a U.S. sports franchise.
I knew the name was familiar… he currently owns 11 percent of the Brewers and was in control of Selig’s share of the Brewers before the sell-off to Attanasio.
Also, the FORTUNE writer must not be a hardcore baseball fan - in 1962, the Braves were still located a little bit north of Atlanta….
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