Chicago businessman Andrew Berlin, the owner of the Cubs’ first-year Class A affiliate in South Bend, confirmed Friday via his Twitter account that he has become a minority investor in the Cubs.
He’s the first publicly known investor since the Ricketts family ownership confirmed last spring its plan to offer minority shares of the franchise to help pay for the $375-million Wrigley Field renovation project.
Sources say Berlin is just one of several investors to have purchased minority interest in the Cubs in ownership’s efforts to raise as much as $300 million through the process. The franchise was valued between $1.2 billion and $1.32 billion by business publications in the past year.
It was not immediately clear how large Berlin’s investment is.
“I’m not making decisions about operations or player personnel,” Berlin told WSBT 22 of South Bend on Friday. “But I do enjoy certain perks of ownership – of being a minority owner – and I also get a chance to learn about major league baseball and the baseball business.”
Berlin, 54, also is a minority, non-controlling partner of the Chicago White Sox.
He told WSBT 22 he informed White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf of his intent to invest in the Cubs “and he permitted me to do so.”
Berlin tweeted Friday: “It’s an honor to be invested w/ an org like the @Cubs. Bright futures for the teams on & off the field! Go Cubs Go…in South Bend & Chgo!”
The Loyola law school graduate co-founded the company that became Berlin Packaging with his father in the 1980s. The company was sold last year for $1.4 billion.
Berlin, who bought the Class A South Bend minor-league team in 2011, signed a four-year player-development affiliation agreement with the Cubs last September, ending a 17-year relationship with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
That affiliate change came just two years after the Cubs’ new front office severed long-time ties with Class A Peoria to sign a player development deal with nearby Kane County – an affiliation front office execs lauded for its proximity to Chicago.
The South Bend Silver Hawks were soon renamed the South Bend Cubs, with logo and color scheme changes.
Berlin told WSBT that his investment in the Cubs “may drive a closer connection and help keep the Cubs in South Bend as long as possible.”