CHICAGO -- The Chicago Cubs Friday were sold to the Tribune Co. for $20.5 million, ending a 66-year reign by the William Wrigley family.
The assets -- totalling an estimated $18 million in cash -- were to be placed in a Chicago bank for distribution to an estimated 800 shareholders at a cash value of $2,050 a share.
'I do not like to think of this as a sad day but the end of one era and the beginning of another,' said William Wrigley Jr., who owns 81 percent of the stock.
The three-hour meeting hit an unexpected snag when a motion to table the sale until the end of the year caused a near breakdown.
Jack Strellis, a Waterloo attorney who owns three shares of the estimated 10,000 shares of stock, asked that the original motion to vote on the sale of the club be tabled.
'We don't know how much money in contingencies must be paid out which could deplete the sale of each share,' Strellis said, 'and if by some act of God, the Cubs got into the playoffs or the World Series, the stock could be worth a lot more in October.'
Chicago Cubs President William J. Hagenah Jr. called for a voice vote on Strellis' motion to table the sale and a thundering shout of 'ayes' filled the hotel ballroom. The motion appeared carried until Dr. Clinton Compere, owner of 10 shares of stock, pointed out the vote tally is based on the number of shares voted -- not the number of people voting. Hagenah then ruled he had made a mistake and the sale was finalized.
Terms of the sale also permit the Tribune to purchase the land under Wrigley Field for an estimated $600,000. The land is now owned by the Philip K. Wrigley estate.
William A. Gill, senior vice president of Stone and Webster, a New York appraisal corporation, said the Tribune will assume an estimated $1.5 million in liabilities under terms of the agreement.
The National League approved the sale of the club by a vote of 11-0 at a June 30 meeting.
The ballclub has been in the Wrigley family since 1915.