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Thomas Ricketts Wins Cubs Bidding War

CNBC has confirmed that Chicago bond trader Thomas Ricketts has won the exclusive right to negotiate with the Tribune Company for the sale of the Chicago Cubs, Wrigley Field and 25 percent of the local Comcast sports network.

Wrigley Field in Chicago.
Jeff Roberson
Wrigley Field in Chicago.

After creditors favored Ricketts bid, believed to be in the $900 million range, sources told CNBC that the Tribune Company informed the Ricketts group that they were determined to have the best offer.

Ricketts will now have a window to negotiate an agreement with the Tribune, though things could be complicated because the Tribune Company has filed for bankruptcy.

While the Cubs sale was technically excluded from the bankruptcy, it still will likely have to approved by the court and then by Major League Baseball.

That leaves open the possibility that the other two remaining bidders, Clarion Capital's Marc Utay and Chicago real estate mogul Hersh Klaff can get back in with a better bid.

Ricketts is the son of Joseph Ricketts, the founder of Ameritrade. He is president of bond dealer Incapital LLC.

Cubs officials said last week that they had hoped to get a new owner in place by opening day

The Tribune announced it was selling the team nearly two years ago.

Despite the fact that the Cubs haven't won in a century, they have a waiting list for season tickets of more than 100,000 fans.

Questions? Comments? SportsBiz@cnbc.com

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