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Cubs’ new owners hope for fresh start

Joel Rose Oct 12, 2009
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Cubs’ new owners hope for fresh start

Joel Rose Oct 12, 2009
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TEXT OF STORY

Steve Chiotakis: While baseball’s elite teams are still on the field, the Chicago Cubs are in court filing for bankruptcy. Today’s Chapter 11 filing is supposed to give a clean slate to the team’s new owners, the Ricketts family of the TD Ameritrade fortune. Reporter Joel Rose has more.


Joel Rose: It’s not that the Chicago Cubs are losing money. They’re not. The Ricketts family is buying a majority stake in the team from the Tribune Company, which is also in bankruptcy.

And Smith College economist Andrew Zimbalist says the family wants be sure that all it’s getting is the team, with no surprises.

Andrew Zimbalist: There was some concern on the part of the Rickets family that if the Cubs didn’t separately go through the process, that somewhere, somehow, sometime, the Ricketts family would end up being liable for some of the debts of the Tribune Corporation.

The Ricketts family is paying a record $845 million for the Cubs, Wrigley Field and other assets. The transaction is not structured as an outright sale. Instead, Tribune is holding on to 5 percent of the team. That’s supposed to help the company avoid paying $300 million in capital gains taxes — though tax experts say the IRS may want to take a closer look at the deal.

I’m Joel Rose for Marketplace.

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