Tuesday, March 14, 2006

shareholder activism

chuck over at ivy chat continues to be all over the potential sale of the cubs, which is again this week mentioned in crain's (subscription req'd) in a quip from ariel capital's john rogers jr.

CEO Dennis J. FitzSimons is under pressure to boost profit and the share price. One way to focus on the task, Mr. Rogers says, is to sell the Chicago Cubs and Tribune's stake in the Food Network, because neither is vital to the company. "Selling those businesses would be the intelligent thing to do. It's time for them to focus on what they do best," he says.

this page has offered its take on the future of cubs ownership -- but what is undeniable is that the direction is set. ariel is not usually an activist shareholder -- but it can wield immense clout over tribco, through both its massive direct shareholdings and its mutual fund apparatus. rogers will be difficult to defy for dennis fitzsimons and tribco's embattled executive leadership, which has seen plan after plan for a revival in the company's fortunes fail and the company's shares founder at multiyear lows. it seems increasingly likely that the cubs will be sold by tribco in the next few years, and quite possibly this year.

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