Cubs bids enter 2nd round – Tribune Co. strikes Cannings proposal

July 24, 2008

By Phil Rosenthal and Ameet Sachdev | Chicago Tribune reporters

Tribune Co. on Wednesday shot down a preliminary bid for the Chicago Cubs from the group led by Madison Dearborn Chairman John Canning and, in doing so, fired a warning shot concerning the auction for the ball club, Wrigley Field and related properties.

Canning has been seen as a front-runner to land the Cubs, the ballpark and the team’s stake in the Comcast SportsNet Chicago cable TV channel. In addition to his local ties as head of a Chicago-based private-equity firm, he is a part-owner of the Milwaukee Brewers, which was formerly controlled by Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig, an influential figure in gaining MLB approval of a Cubs sale.

Those bidders invited to continue in the process, and given access to more detailed financial information, indicated their valuation of the Cubs and related properties could reach at least $1 billion, sources said. Among those believed to have made the cut was entrepreneur and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban. Among those who didn’t was Don Levin, owner of the Chicago Wolves hockey team.

In informing Canning that his group’s first-round proposal fell short of those advancing, sources with knowledge of the process said Tribune Co. sought to tell everyone involved

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