DETROIT -- Detroit Tigers owner Tom Monaghan announced Thursday he has signed an agreement to sell the baseball team to rival pizza baron Mike Ilitch.
Ilitch, owner of the NHL's Detroit Red Wings and the Litte Caesars pizza chain, last week went before a committee of other baseball owners and gained their preliminary approval of his purchase of the Tigers.
Although the purchase price was not released, reports have placed it in the area of $85 million.
Monaghan, owner of Domino's Pizza, announced his intention last March to sell the team so he could devote more attention to his pizza business.
'Selling the Tigers to Mike Ilitch is in the best interest of Detroit, given his dedication to the city, his experience in operating the Detroit Red Wings, and his commitment to carrying on the Tigers' tradition,' Monaghan said. 'The future of the Tigers organization is now in the good hands of the Ilitches. I wish them well.'
Several conditions still must be met before the deal is complete, among them approval of owners in both the American and National leagues. Baseball Commissioner Fay Vincent said earlier he was confident the sale would be approved. An owners meeting is scheduled Sept. 9 in St. Louis.
Monaghan has owned the Tigers since 1983, buying it from John Fetzer for $53 million and realizing instant success. The Tigers won the World Seies in 1984, his first year as owner, and they also won the AL East in 1987.
At that time, Monaghan said he never wanted to sell the team, but cash flow problems with Domino's Pizza forced him to seek a buyer.
Monaghan fired Tigers President Bo Schembechler, former University of Michigan football coach, in a message delivered by fax Aug. 3. Schembechler, saying he had a 10-year deal with Monaghan, is threatening to sue Monaghan for breach of contract. Monaghan said he fired Schembechler because he learned he was preparing to sue him. Jim Campbell, Tigers chairman and former general manager, was fired along with Schembechler.