Take me out of the ballgame

PERE Magazine December 2008/January 2009 issue

At press time, your chance to buy a baseball team from Sam Zell (what a cocktail party conversation starter!) is set to expire.

The real estate mogul turned newspaperman recently set 1 December as a bid deadline for the Chicago Cubs, a division of media holding company Tribune.

Sam Zell

Four bidders have already been identified: logistics entrepreneur Jim Crane; TD Ameritrade scion Tom Ricketts; Chicago real estate honcho Hersh Klaff; and Marc Utay, founder of New York private equity firm Clarion Capital Partners.

Bids could reach $1 billion. The deal would include ballpark Wrigley Field and a stake in a regional sports television network.

Given the state of the newspaper business, one wonders why Zell doesn't unload the inky assets and keep the Cubs instead. The Cubs may have not won a World Series in 100 years, but it's safe to say the internet doesn't pose an existential threat to the franchise.