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Proposed buyer of Chicago Cubs unveils financing plan

February 18, 2009 |  1:00 pm


TD Ameritrade's parent company has announced a $403-million stock repurchase program that is designed to help company founder Joe Ricketts complete his family's planned purchase of the Chicago Cubs from Tribune Co. (which is The Times' parent company).

The stock repurchase deal would pay Ricketts' family $11.85 per share for 34 million shares. The family would use proceeds from the sale to help finance their proposed $900-million purchase of the Cubs, Wrigley Field and a 25% stake in a regional sports television network.

In a statement, Joe Ricketts said: "Our family is working to close a deal for the Chicago Cubs, and we are pleased to have reached a mutually beneficial agreement with the company that will help us to do so."

TD Ameritrade President and Chief Executive Fred Tomczyk said: "This transaction with our founder will allow us to complete our existing buyback plans with immediate accretion for all of our shareholders."

After the stock repurchase is completed, the Ricketts family will own about 17.7% of the company's outstanding stock and retain two seats on the company's board of directors.

The proposed sale must be approved by Major League Baseball. Even though the Cubs are not part of Tribune Co.'s bankruptcy proceeding, the company might also need to clear the planned franchise sale with a U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge in Delaware.

Tribune in January selected the Ricketts' bid over two others received for the franchise, Wrigley Field and the 25% interest in the regional sports cable network.

TD Ameritrade's share price dipped slightly to $12.53 in Nasdaq trading after the repurchase was announced. The stock ended trading Tuesday at $12.56.

-- Greg Johnson

Photo: The Chicago Cubs stretch during spring training on Tuesday in Mesa, Ariz. Credit: Morry Gash / Associated Press