Chicago Cubs May File 'Prepackaged' Bankruptcy

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The Chicago Cubs, one of the most popular sports franchises, may become the first Major League Baseball team in nearly forty years to file bankruptcy.

The Chicago Cubs and Wrigley Field are currently in the process of being sold by the Tribune Co., owners of the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times and WGN.

Earlier this year, the Tribune Co. filed for bankruptcy as its new owner, Sam Zell, looks to eliminate debt and return the company to profitability. That’s one of the reason for the sale of the beloved baseball team and its historic stadium.

Zell and Tribune Co. are trying to maximize their return on the sale. At one point in the bidding process, they were hoping to get close to $1 billion for the team, the ballpark and a share in a local sports cable network.

The current economic climate made financing difficult for many of the bidding groups. The current leading bid is around $900 million from a team led by the Joe Ricketts family. Ricketts, the founder of TD Ameritrade, and his family are longtime Cubs fans. They are the frontrunners after a long bidding process that drew lots of interest. Outspoken Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban was one of the parties initially interested in the Cubs.

However, the deal between the Rickets and Tribune Co. isn’t done yet. There have recently been reports that the Tribune Co. is listening to a similar offer from an investment group led by Marc Utay. Plus, any offer for the team must be approved by 75 percent of the owners of other MLB teams before the deal can be official.

If the Chicago Cubs file bankruptcy it will be a “prepackaged bankruptcy.” In a prepackaged bankruptcy, all the terms of the bankruptcy are agreed to before filing, which can result in a shorter turnaround time.

By filing bankruptcy, the Chicago Cubs will be able to reduce their liabilities, which would make the sale of the team easier.

The Chicago Cubs baseball franchise dates back to the 1870s. One of the most well known brands in sports, they won the NL Central Division the previous two years, but have been without a World Series Championship for more than 100 years.

Written by Trevor Higgins

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