Wrigley Field deal hits the wall

June 10, 2008

tribune.jpg A plan to sell the Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs, has failed to make progress after an Illinois state group said it could not agree to terms set by Tribune Co, the field’s owner. The proposed deal hinged on a plan to sell fans “equity seat rights” which they could then split or trade.

The Chicago Tribune had slightly different take on the story, saying “the state’s efforts to purchase Wrigley Field slammed into an ivy-covered wall Monday when owner Tribune Co. rejected a no-tax proposal.” Regardless of who rejected whom — perhaps the Curse of the Billy Goat is to blame? — it looks like the deal isn’t happening, which could be good news for Internet billionaire Mark Cuban, who has said he wants to buy the Cubs together with Wrigley Field.

A Yahoo employee severance plan meant to protect workers after a merger or change of control should be scrapped, according to a new shareholder lawsuit against the Internet company and its directors, The New York Times reported on Tuesday.The plaintiffs, two Detroit pension funds, and billionaire investor Carl Icahn, who is waging a battle for control of the Yahoo board, have criticized the severance plan as costly and said it was an obstacle to any merger. The lawsuit claims Yahoo could be faced with up to $2.4 billion in potential severance payouts under the plan — which was put in place as the prospect of a Microsoft acquisition was looming, but would also be triggered if Icahn were to take control of the company.

Other deals of the day:

    ** Global brewer SABMiller Plc said it had agreed to buy Russian brewer LLC Vladpivo. The value of the gross assets to be acquired is about $69 million, said SABMiller in a statement. It did not disclose the purchase price.

    ** Norway’s government has bought 498,900 more shares in Norwegian oil and gas producer StatoilHydro as part of its long-term plan to boost its stake to 67 percent from 62.5 percent, the company’s share registry showed.

    ** Private equity company Cinven Ltd said it had agreed to buy British financial services firm Partnership Assurance (PA) in a deal worth around 200 million euros ($316 million).

    ** Indonesian coal producer PT Bumi raised its offer for Australian-listed Herald Resources Ltd to A$2.80 a share, the companies said in a joint statement, valuing Herald at A$553.6 million ($527 million). 

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