Late Saturday night, the long-awaited sales agreement between Hicks Sports Group and a group headed by Pittsburgh attorney Chuck Greenberg and current Rangers president and Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan was completed. Here’s the key details:
What’s the Name of the Ownership Group? The ownership group that was headed by Tom Hicks was named Texas Rangers Baseball Partners. With the sale, the new ownership group name is Rangers Baseball Express LLC. No word if “Express” is a tie-in to the two banks that Ryan owns, the Express Bank in Alvin, Texas, and the Express Bank of Texas located in Round Rock.
Land Ho! – A key revenue maker in the future for the new ownership is the purchase of land through a separate transaction as part of the sale. As HSG’s statement on the sale outlines, “Ballpark Real Estate, L.P., an independent investment vehicle controlled by Hicks, entered into an agreement to sell or transfer to the Greenberg-Ryan group approximately 153 of the 195 acres around the Ballpark and Cowboys Stadium that is owned or controlled by Ballpark Real Estate or the Hicks family. In return for the transferred land, Ballpark Real Estate will receive cash, notes, and an ownership position in the team.”
Who Sits Where at the Table - Greenberg will serve as the Managing Partner and CEO; Ryan will continue in his role as President; Ray Davis and Bob Simpson will serve as Co-Chairmen of the Board; Tom Hicks will serve as Chairman Emeritus
Beyond Greenberg and Ryan, Who Put The Most Into the Deal? - Co-lead investments in Rangers Baseball Express will be made by Ray Davis of Dallas and the family of Bob and Janice Simpson of Ft. Worth. Ray Davis and Bob Simpson will serve as Co-Chairmen of the Board of Rangers Baseball Express.
Who Is Making the Deal Work? – Here’s the lawyers, bankers, etc. that are making the sale happen:
Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Raine Advisors and Perrella Weinberg Partners LP served as financial advisors, and Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP served as legal counsel, to Hicks Sports Group. McGuire, Craddock & Strother, P.C. served as real estate counsel and Cousins Properties Services LP served as a real estate consultant to Ballpark Real Estate.
For the buyers, Rangers Baseball Express, Evolution Media Capital and CAA Sports Media Venture served as financial advisors, and Foley & Lardner LLP and Sherrard, German & Kelly, P.C. served as legal counsel. Leib Advisors served as the tax and accounting advisors to the buyer.
What Happened to Hicks? – This is one of the biggest questions coming out of the sales agreement. Multiple reports had Hicks being retained as the second largest investor in the new ownership group. Now, he appears to only have minority ownership at a very low level, possibly only to allow Hicks Sports Group to avoid capital gains taxes on the deal.
What’s Next? – The biggest step now involves the completion of financing. The 40 creditors that HSG defaulted loan payments to has to approve the deal. After that, MLB’s Ownership and Executive Committees will have to sign-off on the deal before a vote by 75 percent of MLB’s 30 owners takes place to complete the ownership transfer. Unless something jumps out of the woodwork, all should be completed before Spring Training.
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