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Bankruptcy court review of Cubs team sale likely

•  Recent Cases     updated  2009/01/25 14:28


Although the Chicago Cubs aren't part of Tribune Co.'s Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing, experts say a federal court overseeing the case is likely to review the baseball team's impending sale anyhow.

It's not yet clear whether such a review would be a mere formality, or whether it could derail or delay a sale. Bankruptcy lawyers said Friday it ultimately could rest on whether creditors and the court believe Tribune could have gotten more than $900 million — what the billionaire Ricketts family has agreed to pay for the Cubs and related properties.

Only one thing seems certain: The sale alone won't immediately lift Tribune out of bankruptcy protection, even though $900 million would be plenty for a $593 million principal payment Tribune has due this coming June.

The bankruptcy filing allows the company to suspend further payments as it seeks to restructure its operations amid a severe downturn in advertising revenue because of the recession and the shift of readers to the Internet.

The Ricketts family announced Thursday that it has been selected by Tribune as the winning bidder for the Cubs, Wrigley Field and a 25 percent interest in a regional sports network. Details are still being finalized, and the sale ultimately needs the approval of other baseball owners.


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