CHICAGO, IL (August 21, 2009) — McDermott Will & Emery LLP announced today that the Firm represented affiliates of Tribune Company, America's largest employee-owned media company, in a transaction that transferred 95 percent ownership of the Chicago Cubs, Wrigley Field and an interest in Comcast Sportsnet to the Ricketts family through a partnership transaction. The transaction was valued at $845 million.
Under the terms of the transaction, the Ricketts family will have 95 percent and Tribune affiliates will have 5 percent of the equity in a partnership that owns the Cubs and other assets. In addition to the equity stake in the partnership, Tribune affiliates will receive approximately $728 million in cash. Completion of the transaction is subject to U.S. Bankruptcy Court approval, approval of Major League Baseball, and certain customary closing conditions.
McDermott won the assignment due to the strength of the tax experience of Washington, D.C. partners Blake Rubin, Andrea Whiteway and Jon Finkelstein in tax-efficient transaction structures. The transaction was successfully implemented by McDermott’s cross-departmental team, which was led by Chicago corporate partner Brooks Gruemmer and Washington tax partner Blake Rubin and included Andrea Whiteway, Jon Finkelstein, Ryan Harris, Jeffrey Jung, Chris Lin, Dan Fuchs, Kate Edwards, Fred Feinstein, Gerald Offutt, Mark Bilut, Paul Compernolle, John Bisbikis, Philip Levine, Joe Selby, Michael Wilder, Mark Opper, Matt White, Carla Hine and Patrick McCurry. In addition to serving as tax and M&A counsel, the McDermott team advised on intellectual property, real estate, environmental, antitrust, litigation, employee benefits and labor matters relating to the transaction.
McDermott partner Blake Rubin commented, “We were pleased to be able to successfully assist Tribune with this very challenging transaction, which involved implementing an intricate, highly leveraged structure through a bid process in a difficult credit market and navigating it through Major League Baseball’s debt service restrictions. We were fortunate to have clients who are extremely creative, resourceful and persistent. Plus, we had a great team of lawyers.”
McDermott has one of the largest and most comprehensive law firm tax practices in the world, advising our clients on all tax-related areas, including corporate, employee benefits, private clients, state and local taxation, and international matters. McDermott's depth of experience and sophisticated resources enable the Firm to serve every tax need of its clients.
McDermott's M&A Practice Group represents a wide spectrum of publicly and privately held businesses from Global 50 companies to venture backed start ups, as well as private equity funds and investment banks. Our approach to M&A is to develop a thorough understanding of a client’s business objectives and strategies so that we can provide superior client service and results. Additionally, our ability to leverage our extensive industry experience and recognized areas of practice, such as tax, health and life sciences, intellectual property, energy, employee benefits, and antitrust and competition, across multiple offices, distinguishes our practice and adds value to each M&A transaction. With more than 150 lawyers practicing on one integrated platform, McDermott's M&A Practice is recognized worldwide, placing in the Top 20 in several deal tables since 2006.