Wall Street's meltdown threatens Tribune Co. CEO Sam Zell's plan to get top dollar for the Cubs -- and he's prepared to delay the sale in response.
Mr. Zell has urged bidders to finance the purchase with debt, which would cut his tax bill on the sale. But buyout loans have become more expensive and harder to come by as credit markets contract, potentially limiting any price offered for the team.
"It's costlier to borrow money, and the banks may not extend as much credit as before," says Dave Novosel, a Chicago-based analyst at debt research firm Gimme Credit LLC. As a result, bidders may pull back, and the ball team could fetch "less than the expectations were just a month-and-a-half ago," he says.