McCaskeys intend to hold onto Bears

Discussion in 'Chicago Bears' started by riczaj01, Jul 29, 2013.

  1. riczaj01

    riczaj01 DaBears Ditka DBS Writer

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    McCaskeys intend to hold onto Bears
    Virginia McCaskey says club will remain in family though succession plan tricky


    Bears Chairman George McCaskey is adamant his family has no intention of ever stepping away from the franchise founded in 1920. But keeping control could be tricky.
    George's mother, Virginia Halas McCaskey, 90, has controlled the team since 1983, when her father, George "Papa Bear" Halas Sr., died. She votes not only her own stock in the team but also that of her relatives' — totaling 80 percent.
    When Virginia McCaskey dies, if her stake in the team gets sliced evenly among her 11 children, the math suggests the franchise would fall short of the NFL's minimum ownership requirements. Each of her children would have a 6.6 percent stake in the team, while the NFL requires lead owners to control at least 10 percent of a team's stock and their relatives to control an additional 20 percent.
    The McCaskeys have several ways to fall into compliance, including selling shares among each other or receiving an exemption from the NFL. George McCaskey, the team's chairman since 2011, told the Tribune that the team has a plan to ensure the family's control continues after her death but declined to elaborate, calling the specifics "a private family matter."
    "Our goal is to keep the Bears until the second coming," said George McCaskey, one of Virginia's sons, in June. "I can't say that we're never going to sell the Bears, but I can tell you with conviction that we have no intention of selling."
    Still, there's a prominent businessman, Pat Ryan Sr., who owns a healthy portion of the team. He not only has the means to buy more but also may become the largest single shareholder after Virginia McCaskey passes.
    Ryan, 76, the former chairman of Aon Corp., bought nearly 20 percent of the franchise with friend Andrew McKenna Sr., 82, for $17 million in 1990. Ryan holds most of those shares. He's a sports enthusiast and longtime philanthropist: several athletic facilities at Northwestern bear his name, and he led the city's unsuccessful bid for the 2016 Summer Olympics.
    Beyond that, the McCaskey family's control is difficult to maintain as ownership stakes splinter among a growing number of heirs. And with NFL franchises now fetching more than $1 billion, amassing large stakes by buying out relatives is incredibly expensive. The Bears are worth $1.2 billion, according to Forbes.
    Multiple NFL owners have struggled with such problems, and in 2009 the league cut the 20 percent ownership standard in half for existing owners. The change came as the Rooney Family, which own the Steelers, transitioned from Art Rooney Sr. to his five sons, who were left with equal stakes of less than 20 percent.
    "The difficulty, and you see this in all family businesses but especially in sports teams, is that as a family business goes farther down in generations, it's more and more difficult to keep it in the family, and that is our goal," George McCaskey said. "So we're trying to address the challenges common to many family businesses."
    The Bears are a private company, and the McCaskeys rarely reveal much about ownership stakes. But the family was unable to keep details of its holdings private during a series of court battles largely over the estate of Virginia's brother, George S. "Mugs" Halas Jr., which began with his death in 1979 and continued until the mid-90s.
    "It wasn't pleasant," said Chicago Sting founder Lee Stern, a friend of George Halas Sr. and minority owner in the White Sox.
    Court records showed a complex ownership structure designed by George Halas Sr. so the team would remain in the family and limit its taxes. Virginia McCaskey owned 30 percent through her own stake and holding companies; her children each owned 3.8 percent; and Stephen and Christine Halas, the two children of "Mugs" Halas, each owned 3.8 percent.
    The remaining nearly 20 percent belonged to McKenna and Ryan.
    George McCaskey declined to discuss ownership stakes — what they were in the past and how they may have changed. "If you want to go with what's already been reported, that's fine with us," he said. When "Mugs" Halas died, his children weren't old enough to entirely control their inheritance — and the executor of Mugs' will negotiated a sale of their Bears stake to Judd Malkin and Neil Bluhm, prominent real estate tycoons and investors in the Bulls.
    But Ed McCaskey exercised the family's right of first refusal on sales of minority stock and matched the $17 million offer. That set the McCaskeys back financially and, as a result, they sold to Ryan and McKenna. McKenna, the chairman of McDonald's Corp., was already on the Bears board, having joined about six years earlier. Both men declined comment.
    George McCaskey, who lives in rural DeKalb County, said that his family is not independently wealthy. Its net worth and identity are entwined with a team his grandfather took control over from his employer, Augustus Staley of A.E. Staley & Co. The team was the Staley Starchmakers before Halas renamed them the Bears in 1922. Halas, known as "Mr. Everything," played for a decade, coached for three decades and shaped the game.
    The Bears' board consists of Virginia; five of her sons: George, Brian (senior director of business development), Edward, Michael and Patrick (senior director of special projects); Ryan; McKenna; and Bears CEO Ted Phillips. Another son, Rich McCaskey, works in administration. Only George agreed to a formal interview.
    "It's amazed me it's lasted this long," said Bernard Rinella, an attorney who represented Mugs' ex-wife, of current ownership. "What amazes me is these McCaskeys are still getting along."
    Virginia McCaskey, who once called football a man's world, always has stayed away from day-to-day operations. But over the years, the shy, stoic "First Lady of the NFL," who lives in Des Plaines, has served as what George calls "the glue" of her family.
    And to her, there is no question about the future of the Bears.
    "I think it's obvious," she told the Tribune recently. "We're going to keep the team in the family."
    Tribune reporter Becky Yerak contributed.
    mmharris@tribune.com
    Twitter @chiconfidential
    jahopkins@tribune.com
    Twitter@jaredshopkins

    Copyright © 2013 Chicago Tribune Company, LLC

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/sport...-bears-chicago-sports-20130728,0,729956.story

    2-3 years ago this would have made me one sad panda...but it sounds like the newest guy running the show seems to understand how to do it.
  2. motownbear

    motownbear derp daderp daderpidity derp Staff Member Staff Member

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    nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo
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  3. omc1969

    omc1969 Veteran

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    o_O You trying to ruin my day ric ?
  4. JJ-30

    JJ-30 Veteran

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    Ban Ric for reporting bad news.
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  5. A-11

    A-11 Veteran

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    Why can't they set up and use a family trust? Seems like a good use for one...
  6. riczaj01

    riczaj01 DaBears Ditka DBS Writer

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    I know its upsetting, but the reality is that the current Mc running the day to day seems like he actually gets it. So I'm not near as depressed as I would have normally been.

    Hell maybe they are just saying that to make Ginny Mc feel good about it staying in the family and to also help raise the price of bidders.
  7. Bearsinhouston

    Bearsinhouston Hall of Famer

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    I'm actually good with George. Lots of worse owners out there.
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  8. Mr. Deliverance

    Mr. Deliverance Guest

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    The McCaskeys are fuckin idiots when it comes to running the Bears. If they were less concerned about profit margins and more concerned about the product on the field, we might actually be a lot closer to the Pack. They know nothing about hiring football people. Hopefully these dickheads didn't blow it with Emery.
  9. Mr. Deliverance

    Mr. Deliverance Guest

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    The McCaskeys are fuckin idiots when it comes to running the Bears. If they were less concerned about profit margins and more concerned about the product on the field, we might actually be a lot closer to the Pack. They know nothing about hiring football people. Hopefully these dickheads didn't blow it with Emery.
  10. Jimmors

    Jimmors The Rhymenoceros Staff Member SuperFan

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    That seems like the most likely scenario, since i seriously doubt all 11 kids have a serious interest in running the Bears. Im sure a few would be willing to sell a chunk to Georgie for a nice sum.
  11. MIKETOUHY

    MIKETOUHY Rookie

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    If they're so concerned about profit, would they make more money by having a winning team?
  12. riczaj01

    riczaj01 DaBears Ditka DBS Writer

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    Mike, they've been trying, problem was they felt that since JA/Lovie had got them to a SB they knew what they were doing...and they didn't. They've fixed this, and the new Mc in charge is willing to take a back seat and let Emery/Trestman right the ship. I think that it might just work.

    I don't buy for one minute that the Mc's didn't want a winning team, they just weren't football smart enough to hire the right people, hense why they had to hire a firm to get Angelo. New Mc comes into power, fires JA, hires Emery, gives Emery the reigns to decide if Lovie deserves his job and backs off. Good things seem to be happening since then.
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  13. Mr. Deliverance

    Mr. Deliverance Guest

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    The Bears are the 8th most valuable franchise in the NFL. The McDummies have refused for years to spend the coin on football people. They finally did it when they hired Angelo. Think about how many years came and went before they were willing to do that?
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  14. Nakoma1

    Nakoma1 Veteran

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    better late than never Mr.D

    I was an anti-McCaskey fan ,..I'm satisfied
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  15. Henry Burris

    Henry Burris Head Coach

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    I'm just gonna echo sentiments that view this in a positive light. I know I don't have the time in as a Bears fan that some of you have, but having become a fan THE YEAR AFTER DITKA LEFT, I fancy myself to be a bit of a victim of the past regime, that not only hired Dave Wannstedt, but announced the wrong guy as his replacement. No one with any common sense does that ****. That's some "relative of the Caesar gets to be a governor" level of nepotism to even be able to get to that level. And out on his *** the last McCaskey went (Don't know his name, don't bother telling me, I'd rather forget it), and immediately upon the arrival of George, things changed significantly. Angelo's gone within one year, Lovie, two. As far as damage that the past administration has cost the team, I think the best way to see how is that the Bears are the 8th most valuable team in the league, and in the 2nd biggest market, with nationwide support. Call me an optimist, but if I had to guess, even if Trestman and Emery fail, the right type of thinking is going on in Halas, not only to "right the ship" income wise, but to get us a *** ***** ********** ***** ***** ****** ** ***** *** ** ** *** ** * superbowl..
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  16. Mr. Deliverance

    Mr. Deliverance Guest

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    The good thing about the Emery hire is that maybe the McCaskeys finally get it that they need to be willing to spend in the front office to see a better product on the field. And the best they can do is just get out of the way of the front office and not get sentimental over coaches. But man those were some long years watching the Bears struggle and lose when they had no real personnel men running the team. I remember when they gave up a #1 pick for Rick Mirer...lol...I mean they really had idiots running this team way back when. And to think that even recently we could have had Coughlin & Kurt Warner. Not sure how it would have all worked out...but even recently we had some blown opportunities.
  17. Nakoma1

    Nakoma1 Veteran

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    Mikey was no football genius,... one his first firings was Vanissi

    BAD MOVE There

    I liked JV how can ya not like a fellow pisan
  18. soulman

    soulman Pro-Bowler SuperFan DBS Writer

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    "Our goal is to keep the Bears until the second coming," said George McCaskey,

    Of who, Jesus Christ or George Stanley Halas? :confused:
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  19. soulman

    soulman Pro-Bowler SuperFan DBS Writer

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    Takes one to know one. :rolleyes:

    Hello pot, meet kettle. :D
  20. Tarkus

    Tarkus Veteran

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    Was a time I wished for bad things on the McCaskeys. With this last surprising push toward football normalcy, I'll reserve those feelings. Besides, they hand it over to someone else, who knows how deep the rabbit hole goes?

    Be careful what you wish for...
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