Friday, August 21, 2009

What is "Imminent"

With great fanfare, the Chicago Tribune is reporting that the long protracted sale of the Cubs to the Ricketts family is nearly complete. See, if you read past the headline, that's exactly what it says:

More than a month after Tribune Co. agreed to broad financial terms of a deal to sell the Cubs to the Rickettses, the two sides are close to completing all the legal documents associated with the large and complicated transaction.

Sources close to the matter said they expected a definitive agreement could be signed within days. The completion of a definitive agreement would mean Tribune Co. would not be able to solicit any other bids for the team, sources said.

Wait! There's nothing there about closing of the sale or final financing arrangements or a date to transfer control. What this says is that the Tribune will have a "definitive agreement." That means that the Trib can no longer talk to the Utay's.

Where's the bankruptcy court sign off? Where's the MLB owners signoff? Is the financing with the secondary debt offering complete?

Until we see information on these rather important details, all this fanfare is simply another step in the process. This is not the final step.

Now, perhaps the Ricketts do have their financing lined up and that's why the Trib is ready to cement their agreement. But this article is silent on that.

More reporting is needed before anyone can say this is more than just a formal end to the bidding process.

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