A bankruptcy court judge on Monday set an Aug. 31 hearing to expedite procedures in the sale of the Cubs from the Tribune Co. to the Ricketts family. Judge Kevin Carey set the quick hearing to simplify and shorten the legal motion process as part of completing the deal. A two-year quest to sell the Cubs ended on Friday as the parent Tribune Co. signed a definitive agreement to sell 95 percent of the franchise to the Ricketts family for $845 million.
Tom and Joe Ricketts will have management control of the joint venture as its 95 percent owner. Tribune Co. -- which owns the club, Wrigley Field and approximately a 25 percent interest in Comcast SportsNet -- will retain a five-percent ownership interest. The Tribune Co., which filed for bankruptcy protection earlier this year and owes $13 billion to creditors, outlined in papers sent to the court a two-step process that should culminate with the sale of the team. The first was the overall bankruptcy protection. The second, the Tribune explained last week, is voluntarily placing the Cubs under Chapter 11 protection so that "the franchise can emerge free and clear of Tribune Co.'s financial obligations." Once the deal is approved by the court, it will be submitted to MLB, where just like any other transfer of ownership it must be approved by a 75 percent vote of the 30 clubs. If the bankruptcy court proceedings are indeed expedited, the transfer could be approved at the next owners' meeting set for Nov. 18-19, appropriately enough, for Chicago's O'Hare Airport Hilton.
Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.