Notes On Cubs Potentially Selling Minority Shares

Cubs owner Tom Ricketts says that the team is considering selling minority shares in order to raise cash for Wrigley Field renovations, MLB.com's Carrie Muskat reports. "Any time you're looking at privately financing a big project like this, you're going to look at all your different sources of potential financing," Ricketts says. "We're going to take a look at whether or not it makes sense to bring in outside investors." Here are a few notes on what that might mean.

  • Warren Buffett is one potentially interested investor, Mike Ozanian of Forbes.com reports. Both Ricketts and Buffett have connections to the city of Omaha — Ricketts was raised there, and Buffett was once a minority owner of the minor-league Omaha Storm Chasers.
  • The selling of minority shares of the team is unlikely to change the team's current approach to payroll, at least for the next several years, Patrick Mooney of CSNChicago.com reports. The Wrigley Field renovations will generate more cashflow for the team "in perpetuity," Ricketts says, and so the team is more focused on investing there than investing in particular seasons or players, the effects of which are more temporary.
  • Minority owners could bring valuable perspective to the Cubs, GM Jed Hoyer tells the Chicago Sun-Times' Gordon Wittenmyer. "The other two organizations I’ve been in had a ton of minority owners. In a lot of ways, some of those guys added expertise from a business or from their careers that was helpful in other ways," Hoyer says. Hoyer does not address the question of how selling minority shares would affect the team's rebuilding process.
  • The Cubs' TV deal with CSN expires following the 2019 season, and Cubs fans might have to wait until then to get a big boost to the team's payroll, Wittenmyer writes. "We’ll see," says Ricketts. "I mean, we’ll know a lot more about what our media-rights options are as the year goes forward. I’m not really sure."

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