When it comes to buying the Chicago Cubs, Mark Cuban no longer has game.
The brash billionaire's bid to acquire the baseball team from Tribune Co. was struck a fatal blow by the Securities and Exchange Commission, which is charging the Texas businessman with insider trading. And the SEC isn't talking about trading baseball cards.Click here to read complaint.
Cuban is innocent until proven guilty. And considering his feisty temperament, he'll likely put up a spirited defense worthy of his basketball team, the Dallas Mavericks. (Cuban, who writes a fun blog, comments on the SEC action but doesn't say much.)
Nevertheless, if Cuban weren't already out of the running to purchase the Cubs before, he sure is now. The SEC action will overshadow any Cuban-charged effort to buy the team. Who's going to lend him the money? Who would want to be part of a buyout group that's led by someone under suspicion for insider trading?
More than that, the SEC's action gives MLB Commissioner Bud Selig--who didn't want Cuban to be part of baseball's ownership society anyway--the perfect reason for scuttling any offer the Texas-based entrepreneur would make.
You know, for the good of the game.
Even if some team owners were willing to take on Selig and rally behind a big-paying Cuban (and, by proxy, raise the value of their franchises), the SEC action ends that possibility.
It's doubtful TribCo CEO Sam Zell shares Selig's relief.
Zell is pushing hard to sell the team sooner rather than later. He reportedly wants $1 billion for the Cubbies, while keeping a minority stake. Cuban, who sportswriters often describe as a beer-guzzling "fan favorite", indicated he was willing to play ball with Zell and seemed anxious to fight the baseball lords over the Cubs. At the very least, Cuban was a "buyer-on-deck" who helped keep the Cubs value high in a down economy.
That's all over now. The SEC just ejected Cuban from the field of play.