MLB

Chicago Cubs get needed bankruptcy court OK

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WILMINGTON, Delaware (AP)

The sale of the Chicago Cubs moved closer when a bankruptcy court judge said on Tuesday the team can go to the family of billionaire Joe Ricketts in an $845 million deal. The judge had already cleared Tribune Co. to sell the team and Wrigley Field. But he gave his approval again because the Cubs filed separately for bankruptcy protection on Monday. The team cited assets of $1.42 billion and liabilities of $1.26 billion, but the Cubs' finances weren't in question. The bankruptcy filing was made to ensure that the team can't be hit with claims by Tribune creditors, because the baseball club wasn't covered when Tribune filed for bankruptcy last December. The Ricketts family's deal for the Cubs could close in a couple of weeks, according to Don Liebentritt, Tribune's general counsel. The deal - which involves a record price for a Major League Baseball team - has been approved by the other MLB owners. After taxes and fees, Chicago-based Tribune, which owns newspapers and TV stations, expects to reap about $740 million from unloading most of its stake in the team. Tribune will maintain a 5 percent stake. Ricketts is the founder of Omaha, Nebraska-based TD Ameritrade. ---
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