UPDATE #1: Adjusted article to note that Mark Cuban has officially filed to pursue purchase of the club.
UPDATE #2: Added details of bid enhancement
UPDATE #3: Aug. 2 hearing details added.
At a conference hearing today for the bankruptcy sale of the Texas Rangers, the group of investors led by Chuck Greenberg and Nolan Ryan have offered up a “substantially enhanced” bid that has been approved by William Snyder, the chief restructuring officer appointed by the judge in the case, according to a report by Bloomberg News. Barry Schlachter of the Star-Telegram adds:
All side deals -- which have been a sticking point for big lenders who questioned the fairness of the Greenberg-Ryan bid -- have been stripped out.
That apparently means that Hicks won't get paid for the assets he had kept in the original deal, including parking lots and a centerfield office building at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.
Schlachter adds that "the cash amount of the new bid is about $349 million, about $40 million higher than the previous Greenberg-Ryan offer on the table."
“It’s a fair price with a certain outcome,” Snyder told U.S. Bankruptcy Judge D. Michael Lynn. Snyder didn’t give details of the new offer.
In related news, the lenders of Hicks Sports Group, the holding company of the Rangers that has defaulted on $525 million in loans, have offered up financing to Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban in order for him to be competitive at a scheduled Aug. 4 auction for the sale of the club. Cuban's "Radical Pitch, LLC" entered a "Notice of Appearance" filing late last night, signalling that he will indeed be involved, should an auction take place.
Lawyers for Cuban and Monarch Alternative Capital, the hedge fund that holds the most debt of the Rangers, lashed out at the new bid, which was done between Snyder and the Greenberg/Ryan group without their knowledge. Clifton Jessup, the lawyer representing Cuban said the Mavericks owner had spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on due-dilligence in the purchase, and likened the move as an "October surprise" that would have a "chilling effect" on the auction, if it were to take place. Houston businessman Jim Crane has said he has added other investors in an effort to be competitive.
While Judge Lynn has not said, there is the possibility that with the enhanced bid stripping out the side deals, such as the 154 acres of land surrounding the Ballpark, he could approve the prepackaged plan by saying that all "classes" are now unimparied, and thus, the auction scheduled for Aug. 4 would be cancelled. It is unclear at this point if Lynn is leaning that way.
Schlachter adds in his report that "Greenberg's attorney, Tom Lauria, has agreed that the auction simply be postponed for two weeks," an interesting twist in that Greenberg/Ryan, as well as MLB, argued that investors within the group could pull out after the Aug. 12 expiration of the Asset Purchase Agreement (APA) reached in May. The extension may be offered up to allow further tweaking and allow Lynn to approve the Plan.
UPDATE: Judge Lynn has approved a confirmation hearing for Aug. 2 at 11am CT called by the CRO regarding the amended pre-packaged plan.
The lenders have been adamantly opposed to the Greenberg/Ryan bid, going so far as to state in court that they would be willing to see the group pushed completely out of the process in order to see another group ultimately own the club. Major League Baseball has backed the Greenberg/Ryan group, and the lenders are currently collecting information through discovery, including scheduled testimony from the likes of Commissioner Selig and eventually Chuck Greenberg, that could be used to file lawsuits in order to collect damages, should the sale not turn out their way.
MORE NEWS AS IT BECOMES AVAILABLE AS THE HEARING CONTINUES
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