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So Long, Cubs? Cuban Charged With Insider Trading

By Marcus Gilmer in News on Nov 17, 2008 5:50PM

2008_11_17_cuban.jpgIn a development that won't help his already long-shot bid to buy the Cubs, Dallas Mavericks owner and entrepreneur Mark Cuban has been charged with insider trading by the Securities and Exchange Commission. The Wall Street Journal explains it all thusly:

Mr. Cuban sold his entire 6% ownership stake on June 28, 2004, after learning that was raising money through a private investment in a public entity, or PIPE. The next day, on June 29, the company announced the PIPE financing and shares of the company dropped by more than 10%. By selling his stake, the SEC alleges, Mr. Cuban avoided more than $750,000 in losses.
Ah. The SEC has its full statement available here. No word yet from Cuban's camp, though this probably makes this interesting look at Cuban and the Cubs moot.

Meanwhile, a source says Tribune Company owner Sam Zell intends to sale the Cubs before the end of the year regardless of the current economic crisis. Crain's says, "Mr. Zell is confident that the final offers, due by Nov. 26, will be high enough to move forward, the source says. It's unclear whether he still expects bids to reach $1 billion." Assuming Cuban is now out of the running thanks to the aforementioned charges, it appears as though the four finalists are: Chicago bond salesman Thomas Ricketts; Chicago real estate mogul Hersh Klaff; New York investor Marc Utay, and Houston businessman Jim Crane. It also appears as though the report that Zell may retain as much as 50 percent of the Cubs is false and the Tribune Company still only intends to keep a minor stake in the team.

Update: Cuban has responded (sorta) via his blog.

AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill