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Tribune Company’s stake in the Cubs is reportedly about to be sold

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10 years after the Ricketts family took over the team, a small part still owned by Tribco will soon be owned by someone else.

Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

You have probably read about Nextar’s proposed $4.1 billion purchase of Tribune Media (Nexstar’s press release says the deal is worth $6.4 billion), the broadcasting side of the former Tribune Company that owns WGN-TV, WGN America, WGN Radio... and five percent of the Chicago Cubs, because when the Ricketts family purchased the Cubs in October 2009, five percent was retained by Tribune Company for the purpose of tax advantages, described in this 2008 article.

Buried at the end of this Crain’s Chicago Business article about what effects this sale will have on the above-mentioned Chicago broadcast properties is this nugget:

As for Tribune’s 5 percent stake in the Chicago Cubs baseball team that was once tied to the WGN brands, Sook said Tribune is getting close to a sale.

The “Sook” mentioned in that quote is Perry Sook, Chairman and CEO of Nexstar.

A Tribune Media spokesman declined to comment. A Cubs spokesman also declined to comment.

Strictly as a guess, I’d think the Ricketts family would want to purchase that 5 percent stake and have 100 percent ownership of the team. The Cubs were estimated by Forbes earlier in 2018 as being worth $2.9 billion. Five percent of that valuation is $145 million.

As always, we await developments.