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tebman
04-11-2006, 09:48 AM
Another article (http://chicagobusiness.com/cgi-bin/news.pl?id=20153) in Crain's business magazine about the pretentious Tribune Company. The money-changers who quote themselves in these business articles are still muttering about the long-term decline at the Tribune. Slow growth, sluggish sales, etc.

And once again, this comes up:

Some investors have urged management to unlock value by selling off assets like the Chicago Cubs. Others say Tribune could become an acquisition target if its stock price drifts lower...

The Tribune spokesman declined comment on both questions. Mr. Goss, the analyst, says divestitures are unlikely for now, "but the longer the environment remains difficult, the more that those sort of issues could be raised."

What's the over/under on how long a megalomaniacal company will continue to futz around with a ball club?

Thome's Homey
04-11-2006, 10:32 AM
What's the over/under on how long a megalomaniacal company will continue to futz around with a ball club?

As long as it continues to turn an insane profit, I imagine.

Hangar18
04-11-2006, 10:39 AM
There was a story about this very subject the other day .............
Tribune exec Dennis Fitzsimons HARRRUMMMMPHHED, and said they were never selling the Cubs.
Said "it makes business sense" and that the Cubs sell WGN and WGN sells the Cubs. Plays right into my argument all along that one hand of the business washes the other / theres a huge bias in this town.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/baseball/cubs/chi-0604080166apr08,1,973838.story?coll=chi-sportscubs-hed

Frater Perdurabo
04-11-2006, 10:50 AM
The best thing that could happen would be for the Tribune to hang on to the Cubs for several more years, because as long as the Trib owns them and successfully markets their tradition of losing to unsuspecting dolts through thinly-veiled propaganda, the team will have no incentive to put a legitimate winner on the field. Meanwhile, the Sox already are poised for years of success with the core of their starting rotation locked up through 2007, and just a Mark Buehrle signing away from locking it up for even longer.

Let the Tribune Company continue to flounder. They will continue to insist on "cost controls" for the Cubs, meaning reduced payroll and even less on-field success. Over time, the rest of the media will turn on them and many Cubs fans will find something more "trendy" to pursue. Consequently, the fan base will erode while the Urinal continues to crumble and attract larger flocks of nesting pigeons. The Tribune then will have no choice but to sell the team at a much lower value, in large part because the new owner will have to spend tens of millions just to keep up with the years of deferred maintenance. I predict that if the Cubs don't rebuild the main grandstands entirely within the next ten years, they will have to build an entirely new stadium, probably in the suburbs.
:wink:

gobears1987
04-11-2006, 11:02 AM
Another article (http://chicagobusiness.com/cgi-bin/news.pl?id=20153) in Crain's business magazine about the pretentious Tribune Company. The money-changers who quote themselves in these business articles are still muttering about the long-term decline at the Tribune. Slow growth, sluggish sales, etc.

And once again, this comes up:



What's the over/under on how long a megalomaniacal company will continue to futz around with a ball club?As long as they have a brokerage company to sell their own tickets at 400% of the original price.

Ol' No. 2
04-11-2006, 11:05 AM
The best thing that could happen would be for the Tribune to hang on to the Cubs for several more years, because as long as the Trib owns them and successfully markets their tradition of losing to unsuspecting dolts through thinly-veiled propaganda, the team will have no incentive to put a legitimate winner on the field. Meanwhile, the Sox already are poised for years of success with the core of their starting rotation locked up through 2007, and just a Mark Buehrle signing away from locking it up for even longer.

Let the Tribune Company continue to flounder. They will continue to insist on "cost controls" for the Cubs, meaning reduced payroll and even less on-field success. Over time, the rest of the media will turn on them and many Cubs fans will find something more "trendy" to pursue. Consequently, the fan base will erode while the Urinal continues to crumble and attract larger flocks of nesting pigeons. The Tribune then will have no choice but to sell the team at a much lower value, in large part because the new owner will have to spend tens of millions just to keep up with the years of deferred maintenance. I predict that if the Cubs don't rebuild the main grandstands entirely within the next ten years, they will have to build an entirely new stadium, probably in the suburbs.
:wink:Haven't you been paying attention to all the hyperventilation going on? They swept the Cardinals last weekend. Next stop, World Series!!!:rolleyes:

Dan Mega
04-11-2006, 11:25 AM
I think as long as the stadium is withing walking distance of 3 dozen bars and remains a college-like atmosphere, you can expect them to continue selling out regardless of how good or shoddy their record is.

PaulDrake
04-11-2006, 11:36 AM
Haven't you been paying attention to all the hyperventilation going on? They swept the Cardinals last weekend. Next stop, World Series!!!:rolleyes: I lost count of how many pennants the cubs have won in April, May and June.

Steelrod
04-11-2006, 05:21 PM
I think as long as the stadium is withing walking distance of 3 dozen bars and remains a college-like atmosphere, you can expect them to continue selling out regardless of how good or shoddy their record is.
Like big business, they will sell when and if attendance and income declines. It's bottom line that counts, not rings!

PaleHoseGeorge
04-11-2006, 06:01 PM
Another article (http://chicagobusiness.com/cgi-bin/news.pl?id=20153) in Crain's business magazine about the pretentious Tribune Company. The money-changers who quote themselves in these business articles are still muttering about the long-term decline at the Tribune. Slow growth, sluggish sales, etc.

Thanks for the link. I hadn't seen this one. Very insightful.
:thumbsup:

Of course for a slightly more biased view (http://www.whitesoxinteractive.com/rwas/index.php?category=1&id=3088) of the same news, check out the WSI News Watch on the main page.
:cool:

Many of the posters in this thread are completely missing the point if they think the Cubune won't ever sell the Flubs as long as they keep making money (or increasing attendance). Nothing could be further from the truth.

The Flubs don't generate enough revenue to help the Cubune Corporation from reporting lousy results. The hidden value of what the Flubs represents can't be realized unless the Cubune sells the ballclub. Note all these quotes from the Cubune itself...

Mr. FitzSimons seemed to acknowledge industry pressures in an e-mail sent to employees last month. “Tribune, like many of our advertisers and other media companies, is going through a difficult period.” “But,” he added, “Tribune remains financially strong, and we have many positive initiatives taking place throughout our publishing, interactive and broadcasting operations.”

Asked to elaborate on “positive initiatives,” a Tribune spokesman noted the launch of the CW television network in September and Internet revenues, one segment where ad dollars are growing. And “in terms of publishing, we’re moving forward at our individual newspapers with building readership and circulation and we’re making some headway there as well,” he says.


Those of you who think the Cubune wouldn't sell the Flubs need to point to the quotes where anybody inside Cubune Tower talks about fixing their business problems by owning a major league ball team. It's not there... except for the laughable quote Fitzsimmons gave to his shills at WGN Radio last Friday, who sheepishly allowed the utter nonsense of their CEO to pass unchallenged. Big surprise there, eh?
:roflmao:

Here's my favorite quote because it speaks directly to the sort of tailspin the Cubune now finds itself in...

Asked whether its [the Tribune's] stock price has fallen as low as it can go, Mr. Goss replies with a laugh: “I thought it had about five points ago.”

Keep denying reality, Mr. Fitzsimmons, and most of all keep looking up. Your outfit still has plenty further to fall and no end in sight.
:cool:

Tragg
04-11-2006, 10:19 PM
The Cubs is about the only piece of the Tribune empire that is making money is it not? I guess they'd report a huge capital gain if they sold the Cubs, which would be a nice short-term blip, which the crooks in the brokerage industry would try to exploit. Many successful companies are diversifying.

It's tough to diversify when you're a news company though (although Disney seems to do it). I remember an excellent article on this site last year (written by George or Hal I think), in which the Tribune explains that their obvious confict of interest isn't really a conflict of interest because everyone knows that they have a conflict of interest.
And Al Capone wasn't really a killer because everyone knows he's a killer.

SouthSide_HitMen
04-11-2006, 10:32 PM
Many of the posters in this thread are completely missing the point if they think the Cubune won't ever sell the Flubs as long as they keep making money (or increasing attendance). Nothing could be further from the truth.

The Flubs don't generate enough revenue to help the Cubune Corporation from reporting lousy results.

What would they do, reinvest the profits in One Tree Hill or Charmed? CLTV? Their radio station for nursing home patients and shut ins?LOL

(I guess they could loot the proceeds like the British royalty who stole millions from the Sun Times before being apprehended (with an assist from our former Governor who slept as a member of their board of directors)).

Steelrod
04-12-2006, 02:06 AM
The real problem here is their writers have lots of Tribune stock in their pension. This means they'll never retire or be replaced by an unbiased writer. (not that they would hire one!)

Ol' No. 2
04-12-2006, 09:22 AM
What would they do, reinvest the profits in One Tree Hill or Charmed? CLTV? Their radio station for nursing home patients and shut ins?LOL

(I guess they could loot the proceeds like the British royalty who stole millions from the Sun Times before being apprehended (with an assist from our former Governor who slept as a member of their board of directors)).This is why I'm not convinced a sale is imminent. The Cubs, while profitable, don't generate enough cash flow to make much of a difference in the overall bottom line one way or the other. If the Tribune Co. is worried about becoming a takeover target, having wads of cash from the sale of the Cubs just makes them a bigger target.

The only reason I can see that they'd sell the Cubs is if they need the cash for other purposes. IIRC, they have a big tax bill associated with their purchase of the LA Times (can't remember the exact details) and they are also on the wrong end of a lawsuit over inflated circulation numbers. These will require cash. Selling the Cubs could also generate cash that they could use to finance another acquisition.

The Tribune Co. bought the Cubs because of a perceived "synergy" with their other operations (we know what that means, don't we?). It worked quite well. The Cubs value has skyrocketed under Tribune ownership. But they've probably milked that "synergy" about as much as they can, so selling now probably wouldn't be a bad idea, as long as they've got a place to invest the cash.

Trav
04-12-2006, 09:53 AM
I remember an excellent article on this site last year (written by George or Hal I think), in which the Tribune explains that their obvious confict of interest isn't really a conflict of interest because everyone knows that they have a conflict of interest.
And Al Capone wasn't really a killer because everyone knows he's a killer.

In a way, they have a point. Someone once said that how you read is more important than what you read. If you know where the author is coming from then you can read it with his bias in mind. However, you have to have an honest author to do that. Or at least know about the author and where his bias lies. You have to assume that anyone working for the cubs, no matter how distant, is going to have a slant. I guess the cubune would have to actually write about the Sox in order for this theory to play out. You could keep it in mind if you read a cubs article though.

tebman
04-12-2006, 10:25 AM
In a way, they have a point. Someone once said that how you read is more important than what you read. If you know where the author is coming from then you can read it with his bias in mind. However, you have to have an honest author to do that. Or at least know about the author and where his bias lies. You have to assume that anyone working for the cubs, no matter how distant, is going to have a slant. I guess the cubune would have to actually write about the Sox in order for this theory to play out. You could keep it in mind if you read a cubs article though.
I think this is at the root of the whole Tribune-bias question we keep talking about. George Knue, to his credit, has spent a lot of time on this site defending his newspaper. His premise is that nobody who works at the newspaper has ever been pressured by the corporate office to promote the Cubs. Those of us who've posted in response provide all sorts of circumstantial evidence (since there's no other kind -- we don't have a mole in the Tribune editor's office) suggesting that the Tribune is part of the "synergy" employed by diversified corporations.

But like a fish is not aware of the water because he swims and breathes in it, even well-intentioned Tribune writers and editors can't escape the taint of conflict-of-interest because they work in it. They're human; they know who signs their checks. I worked for 23 years for a diverse and iconic company, and knew full well that decisions I made on the job were influenced in some measure by how it would affect other parts of the company. What galls me is the posing done by the Tribune, claiming that they are somehow above the trivial concerns of lesser wage-earners, and that their blemishless integrity shields them from any questions about their veracity.

Yeah, whatever. I'll just get a grip, like Don Wycliff told us to do.

PaleHoseGeorge
04-12-2006, 10:28 AM
This is why I'm not convinced a sale is imminent. The Cubs, while profitable, don't generate enough cash flow to make much of a difference in the overall bottom line one way or the other. If the Tribune Co. is worried about becoming a takeover target, having wads of cash from the sale of the Cubs just makes them a bigger target.

The only reason I can see that they'd sell the Cubs is if they need the cash for other purposes. IIRC, they have a big tax bill associated with their purchase of the LA Times (can't remember the exact details) and they are also on the wrong end of a lawsuit over inflated circulation numbers. These will require cash. Selling the Cubs could also generate cash that they could use to finance another acquisition....

Exactly. CEO Dennis Fitzsimmons isn't desperate enough to admit selling the Cubs makes perfect sense, but the facts are his company is bleeding and he can't continue on this same course indefinitely.

The Cubune itself becomes a takeover target simply for holding onto the Cubs. Fitzsimmons knows the new owners could gobble up all of the Cubune and get back all their money simply by busting up the undervalued assets Fitzsimmons currently controls. I guarantee selling off the Flubbies would make perfect sense to any investment group successful in buying up the Cubune.

So Fitzsimmons is willing to sit tight and pretend everything is just fine -- at least for now. Meanwhile Rome burns.
:cool:

Steelrod
04-12-2006, 10:54 AM
Personally I hope they never sell! Also hope they resign Trusty Dusty!
Wouldn't want an aggressive owner to come in and actually try to win!