Ricketts family mulls selling piece of Cubs to finance Wrigley work
BY MITCH DUDEK Staff Reporter April 3, 2014 5:58PM
Updated: April 4, 2014 9:57AM
The Ricketts family is exploring opening the Cubs ownership to minority shareholders to help finance the long-sought renovation and expansion of Wrigley Field.
Should the plan come to fruition, the Cubs would offer the shares to a team that continues to hold a lot of value — $1.2 billion, according to Forbes — and the promise of winning ways in the future, said a source familiar with the matter.
If the deal goes through, the Cubs would be seeking a small number of high net-worth shareholders. The shares would come out of the Ricketts’ 95-percent ownership of the Cubs.
But shareholders would not be offered a vote at the table. “There would be no change in control,” the source said.
“The Ricketts family is looking at a number of financial options to be prepared to finance expanding and preserving Wrigley in the event that there is a project to move forward with,” said Ricketts family spokesman Dennis Culloton, who noted that going forward with any financing plan depends on a positive conclusion to ongoing negotiations with rooftop owners concerning expansion plans.
“[The Ricketts] may wind up just writing a check themselves, but this may be another way to generate new capital,” the source said. “The longterm goal is to get this project moving forward so the Cubs can generate new resources for the baseball operation.”
No decision has been made on how many shares the Cubs would be willing to sell or at what price, the source said.
The $300 million Wrigley improvement plan includes new signage that rooftop owners are fighting because they say it would partly obstruct their views.