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PLAN APPROVED, TEXAS RANGERS EXIT CHAPTER 11 BANKRUPTCY PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Thursday, 05 August 2010 12:34

Texas Rangers

THIS IS BREAKING NEWS...

A confirmation hearing to accept an amended "pre-packaged plan" to exit the Texas Rangers from voluntary Chapter 11 bankruptcy, has been approved by secured and unsecured lenders, and other interested parties in the case (see Texas Rangers Confirmation Hearing Reveals Details from Auction for details). The hearing caps an intense auction on Weds. that spilled into the early hours on Thurs. where the group led by Chuck Greenberg and Nolan Ryan won out over Mark Cuban and Jim Crane. Nolan Ryan has called a 3pm press conference at the Ballpark in Arlington.

Major League Baseball's owners will conviene for a meeting on Aug. 12 where the league has said a vote for ownership transfer to the group will be approved. If so, new owners will be in place on Aug 13 when the Rangers play the Red Sox in Texas.

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Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey, as well as a contributor to FanGraphs and Forbes SportsMoney. He is available for hire or freelance. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.

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Texas Rangers Confirmation Hearing Reveals Details from Auction PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Thursday, 05 August 2010 10:29
Chuck Greenberg
Cuck Greenberg enters the courthouse in Ft. Worth prior to yesterday's auction
of the Texas Rangers (
AP Photo/Cody Duty)

UPDATE (12pm CT): Add info on Ballpark lease lawsuit being dropped, MLBPA removing objection, projected date for ownership transfer to occur.


At nearly 1am this morning, the investor group of Chuck Greenberg and Nolan Ryan won the auction for the Texas Rangers after the group led by Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and Houston businessman Jim Crane conceded after the Greenberg/Ryan group had a cash offer of $385 million.

Now, a confirmation hearing is taking place with Judge Michael Lynn on the auction process and the pre-packaged plan that the Greenberg/.Ryan group has amended several times, and will likely do so further today during the hearing.

Here’s some info coming out in the early going of the hearing:

Maybe the biggest news has little monitary implications, but has a lot to do with public relations, Nolan Ryan said to 105.3 The Fan, Tom Hicks has been removed completely from any ownership role within the organization. Prior, Hicks was going to be given less than 1 percent ownership equity with Greenberg/Ryan with the ceremonial title of Chairman Emeritus. That has now all been stripped. The reason? According to sources (not Ryan), the title and fractional ownership equity was a nod for the land deal around the Ballpark that was stripped yesterday. When the deal was terminated, so was any cermonial offering to Hicks.

The total assessed value of the deal, including cash and debt obligations totals $593 million, or approx. $73 million they had on the table before the auction started.

The lenders gained approx. $100 million through the process.

Through a good portion of yesterday’s auction, lawyers for the Greenberg/Ryan group claimed that the whole auction process was broken and that the Cuban/Crane bid to start the auction should not be approved. At one stage in a recess, Greenberg said that, depending on the auction outcome, they would appeal. The reason was clarified by Judge Lynn at today’s hearing. Lynn was contacted by the lead Lenders, representatives from Major League Baseball, William Snyder, the Chief Restructuring Officer in the case and the Greenberg/Ryan group about a deal that was in place that would have allowed the auction to not be held (later, Sal Galatioto, a second-lien lender nixed the deal). Afterwards, Clifton Jessup, the attorney for Mark Cuban, called the judge, and at that point Lynn said Jessup knew what Greenberg/Ryan bid was. The parties in the auction were not to know what the others were bidding prior to the auction starting, so the auction process was technically broken at that point. This explains why Greenberg lawyer Thomas Loria objected strenuously late Weds. night during the auction when Jessup said that the Greenberg/Ryan group was stalling on the auction process, saying, “They’ve had 20 hours to look at our bid, while we’ve had an hour and 45 min.”

At the hearing, Judge Lynn said to Jessup, that he thanked Cuban and Crane for bowing out when they did, and that he admitted, the majority of fans got who they wanted. Saying that both were exceptionally gracious after conceding to Greenberg and Ryan.

There will be tweaks to the plan today, addressing concerns by the MLBPA and former Rangers players, such as Alex Rodriguez surrounding deferred compensation owed the players. The MLBPA filed a limited objection to the amended plan that the Rangers have been working on that Greenberg/Ryan would comply to, that asks for, “adequate assurance of future performance within the meaning of Bankruptcy …. and  cure of defaults within the meaning of Bankruptcy Code section.” The latter would address current players that are owed deferred compensation while the former would guarantee future money payments that must be set aside in escrow for players that can then be drawn for their deferred compensation. At the hearing, the MLBPA's concerns were addressed. Although Alex Rodriguez filed a separate complaint (which had no value as he is covered under the MLBPA's motion), plater compensation has been addressed.

A huge looming factor has been removed now, as well. The lawsuit by JPMorgan Chase as part of the Ad Hoc committee of lead lenders, has dropped their lawsuit claiming the lease on the Ballpark was fraudulently transferred.

Other tweaks, likely to be procedural in nature, are occurring, but very minor. MLB's legal team has left as has most of the lawyers for the lenders.

The hearing shows that there seems to be no party that will stand up and vote against the plan. The lenders admitted in court that they were very pleased that they did not go forward with the deal the night before the auction that would have killed it. Given the large sum that came out of the bidding process, the lenders have likely gained more than they thought they would.

The expectation now is for MLB to approve the ownership transfer on Aug. 12, with Greenberg and Ryan taking over the club on Aug. 13.

Look for updates over the course of the hearing, and get live updates via Twitter

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Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey, as well as a contributor to FanGraphs and Forbes SportsMoney. He is available for hire or freelance. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.

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GREENBERG-RYAN WIN TEXAS RANGERS AUCTION AFTER CUBAN-CRANE CONCEDE PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Thursday, 05 August 2010 01:29

Texas Rangers

THIS IS BREAKING NEWS...

In a flurry of bids at auction that ran late into  Weds. night and early Thurs. morning, the group led by Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and Houston businessman Jim Crane approached William Snyder the CRO in the Texas Rangers bankruptcy case at just before 12:45am on Thurs. and conceded the sale of the club to the group led by Chuck Greenberg and Nolan Ryan. The total cash amount in winning bid by Greenberg/Ryan is $385 million.

The Cuban group actually had a bid of $390 million with an additional $12 million added due to removing closing money from escrow, but based upon how their deal was structured, and the addition of a "break-up fee" that could have been as high as $13 million, the Greenberg/Ryan bid, that saw all cash available now, was valued as worth more.

"It was an emotional roller-coaster," said Nolan Ryan, the current club president and soon to be future owner."You go to court one day and it didn't go your way, but you go back another day and it would. It's a relief."

MLB President and COO Bob DuPuy, who was in attendance for the auction said afterwards, "I'm very pleased and I look forward to Chuck Greenberg and Nolan Ryan leading the team for many years to come."

A confirmation hearing is scheduled for later in the morning Thurs. with Judge Michael Lynn, but given the lateness, it is unclear if the time will be bumped.

While the group that MLB has preferred for months finally won the day, it comes at a considerable price. Before the clubs was put into voluntary bankruptcy, it had been reported that the creditors were steadfast in accepting no less than $300 million. In getting the auction process they fought so hard to get, they garnered an extra $85 million in cash.

The sale likely would benefit Major League Baseball as well as the increased sale price will further push the bar upwards for future club sales. The Rangers were valued at $451 million in the most recent Forbes MLB valuation report. With the group assuming approx. $208 million in liabilities and misc. reductions of $3 million, the total winning bid is $590 million, or approx. 31 percent higher than the Forbes valuation figure

After the confirmation hearing takes place, Major League Baseball has said that it will vote to approve the ownership transfer by Aug. 12 when the Greenberg group had said funding commitments would expire.

Look for more news as it becomes available.

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Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey, as well as a contributor to FanGraphs and Forbes SportsMoney. He is available for hire or freelance. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.

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Texas Rangers Auction Update: Greenberg/Ryan Bids $320M, Only to Have Cuban Bump to $335M in Cash PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Wednesday, 04 August 2010 17:44

Texas RangersA true auction is on!

The Greenberg/Ryan group has just entered the courtroom, and have bidded the $2 million incremental bid about the opening "highest bid" cash offer of $318 million by Jim Crane and Mark Cuban to $320 million. But, almost immediately, the Crane/Cuban group fired off a "topping bid" of $335 million, $15 million in cash more than the Greenberg/Ryan offer that was submitted minutes prior.

Look for more news as it becomes available.

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Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey, as well as a contributor to FanGraphs and Forbes SportsMoney. He is available for hire or freelance. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.

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TX Rangers Auction Update: Crane-Cuban Have Initial Highest Bid, Greenberg Says They Will Appeal PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Wednesday, 04 August 2010 15:38

Texas RangersUPDATE (4:50pm CT): According to multiple sources, the $25 million by Crane and Cuban is a cash component that is being challenged by the Greenberg/Ryan group. The premise by the group is that due to MLB's approval process, which will be longer than that of the Greenberg/Ryan group, the value will diminish over time due to interest, etc. The Greenberg/Ryan group is looking at a mark-up document of the Crane/Cuban group now. The nature of what this document is is not known, but it is likely the "prepackaged plan" that the Greenberg/Ryan group has had on the table for consideration by the bankruptcy court.

In terms of the clock, reports have the Greenberg/Ryan group coming back at 5:30pm CT with their responce. Judge Nelms, who is overseeing the auction, has said he is willing to work through the night to have the auction completed.


After nearly six hours in a Ft. Worth courtroom, and plenty of backroom haggling over its value, the group of Jim Crane and Mark Cuban has been deemed by William Snyder, the chief restructuring officer, and Judge Helms as having the highest initial bid for the Texas Rangers by $25 million, after discounts in bankruptcy fees.

Tom Lauria, a lawyer representing the group led by Chuck Greenberg and Nolan Ryan, attempted to challenge the offer saying that there is a, "Distinct lack of transparency from (Greenberg/Ryan’s) perspective."

The judge has stuck to the bid saying that it is “qualified” for auction, and it is now a case of determining whether the Greenberg/Ryan group can exceed the initial bid amount by $2 million. The court is in recess as it gives the group an hour to evaluate their position. The group has not seen Crane/Cuba bid in-total.

Judge Nelms, who is overseeing the auction believes that the process will move more quickly in subsequent bids.

In showing how heated matters are, according to Daniel Kaplan of the SportsBusiness Journal,  Lauria cursed, ''You told me we were going to get a reasonable amount of time to review the bid. F__ you”, in the hallway outside the courtroom, to which, Louis Streubeck, the attorney for Snyder, “F___ you” back.

Before the auction has proceeded past this initial point, Chuck Greenberg has already said he will appeal its outcome saying that the Crane/Cuban offer was not a qualified bid.

Look for more news as it becomes available.

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Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey, as well as a contributor to FanGraphs and Forbes SportsMoney. He is available for hire or freelance. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.

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Texas Rangers Auction Update: Yet Another Delay PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Wednesday, 04 August 2010 13:54

Texas Rangers

(2:30pm ET) According to Anthony Andro of the FT. Worth Telegram, the delay is to go over small details in Cuban-Crane bid


(2pm CT)

Clearly, the Greenberg/Ryan group is attempting to broker a deal outside of auction. Jim Crane and Mark Cuban were in the courtroom where, since 9am CT today, the auction for the Texas Rangers has been scheduled. Suddenly, Cuban, Crane, Cuban's lawyer Clifton Jessup promptly stood up and exitied the courtroom. At no time while Crane/Cuban group was in the courtroom was any member of the Greenberg/Ryan group in attendance.

Clearly, the Greenberg/Ryan group is working to avoid the auction. As to what is going on behind closed doors... We only wish we were a fly on the wall. Backroom dealings, for certain.

Look for more news as it becomes available.

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Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey, as well as a contributor to FanGraphs and Forbes SportsMoney. He is available for hire or freelance. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.

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Texas Rangers Auction Update: Sal Galatioto Blocked Sale to Greenberg/Ryan Last Night PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Administrator   
Wednesday, 04 August 2010 13:39

Texas Rangers

The auction for the Texas Rangers is (finally) about to get underway, but...

Adding to the intrigue of the Texas Rangers sale, according to a tweet by Anthony Andro of the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram, the Greenberg/Ryan group had brokered a deal last night to work out the sale of the Texas Rangers a second-lien lender blocked the deal from going through. If that were the case, by extension the main lender, Monarch Alternative Capital, likely had approved the deal before being blocked.

Andro reports that Sal Galatioto was the second-lien lender, and that adds additional intrigue to an already complex case. The loans to HSG have been termed by one banker as, “One of the more foolish moves I have ever seen”

But, in a nepotistic matter, Galatioto continues to have ties to Tom Hicks via the sale of the Dallas Stars as he is brokering the sale for Hicks.

Galatioto is certainly no slouch in selling sports properties. Galatioto Sports Partners recently brokered the sale of the Golden State Warriors for $450 million, as well as brokered the sale of the Chicago Cubs and Charlotte Bobcats.

Look for more news as it becomes available.

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Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey, as well as a contributor to FanGraphs and Forbes SportsMoney. He is available for hire or freelance. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.

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Texas Rangers Auction Update: Is Crane/Cuban Bid Qualified? PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Wednesday, 04 August 2010 09:54

Texas Rangers

UPDATE #1 (11:10am CT): Rangers have requested more time to review bid. Now, auction likely to start at noon or later. There is a process going on to determine whether the Greenberg/Ryan group, or the Crane/Cuban group has the highest bid to start the auction process.


THIS IS AN UPDATE ON THE TEXAS RANGERS AUCTION

(10:00am CT) The auction for the Texas Rangers stalled straight out of the gate, the Greenberg/Ryan group challenged whether the bid offered up for auction by Jim Crane and Mark Cuban was "qualified". The interested parties were called into Judge Nelms' chambers, and now Nelms will make that determination. William Snyder, the chief restructuring officer (CRO) reviewed the bid, and has said that it is qualified. The auction is now set to begin at 11am CT.

Look for more news as it becomes available.

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An FAQ on the Texas Rangers Auction PDF Print E-mail
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MLB Club Sales
Written by Maury Brown   
Wednesday, 04 August 2010 09:23

Texas Rangers

With the auction for the Texas Rangers now underway (started at 9am CT) here’s a brief FAQ for those tracking the event:

  • The last time a club was auctioned out of bankruptcy was with the Baltimore Orioles in 1993 (Peter Angelos outbid Jeffrey Loria)
  • The auction has come down to two groups: One led by Chuck Greenberg and Nolan Ryan, and one led by Jim Crane and Mark Cuban
  • The Honorable Russell F. Nelms is overseeing the auction.
  • Media is not allowed to have cameras or recording devices in the courtroom
  • The court docket shows that Nelms schedule has been cleared for the entire day for the auction.
  • The bidding groups are sequestered in “war rooms” within the courthouse, and send representatives to the courtroom to make bids.
  • The bidding starts at $15 million over the cash component of the Greenberg/Ryan “stalking horse” bid of $307.7 million. Given that the Crane/Cuban group met the filing deadline and was approved for auction today, Greenberg/Ryan know that there is a bid of at least $322.7 million that they must exceed.
  • The exact overbid amount by Crane/Cuban will not be known until the auction starts.
  • Each subsequent bid will be in $2 million increments
  • Cash bids will be approved quickly by the court. Via Barry Shlachter on the Dallas Morning News, according to Martin Sosland, the attorney for the Rangers, it could take extra time  – 30 min. or more – for experts to examine the value of other types of bids such as commitment for the prepayment on broadcast rights.
  • The total deal, including debt obligations, by the Greenberg/Ryan group is approx. $520 million.
  • All side deals, including the 154 acre land sale surrounding the Ballpark, have been removed from the auction process.
  • Just before the auction, Greenberg/Ryan and Tom Hicks agreed to terminate the land agreement.
  • If the Greenberg/Ryan group loses at auction they are entitled to a break-up fee that is not to exceed $13 million
  • On the lighter side, today is the anniversary of Robin Ventura charging Nolan Ryan on the mound.

Look for more news as it becomes available.

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Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey, as well as a contributor to FanGraphs and Forbes SportsMoney. He is available for hire or freelance. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.

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Greenberg-Ryan Group Terminates Land Deal Just Before Texas Rangers Auction PDF Print E-mail
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MLB Club Sales
Written by Maury Brown   
Wednesday, 04 August 2010 08:53

Texas RangersWith the auction for the Texas Rangers about to take place, the Greenberg/Ryan group has, yet again, pulled the side deal that includes 154 acres around the ballpark, off the table. The land deal is not part of today's auction, but in theory, frees up funding for the group.

The following is a statement by Tom Hicks, through Ballpark Real Estate:

Ballpark Real Estate (BRE), the group owned by Thomas O. Hicks and other investors, and Rangers Baseball Express, owned by the so-called Greenberg-Ryan group bidding to purchase the Texas Rangers, today announced the termination of a land sale agreement involving 154 acres around Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. The two groups said they mutually agreed to the termination of the land sale agreement to help create a "level playing field" at Wednesday's auction of the Texas Rangers Baseball Club.

Last week, Bankruptcy Judge Michael Lynn rejected an enhanced bid from Greenberg-Ryan that would have removed the land from the franchise bidding and canceled the auction. Lynn ordered the auction to proceed although bidders have been instructed not to include the land as part of the Rangers assets. However, until late yesterday, the land sale agreement was still in force between Express and BRE.

"This is all about good faith," said Philip Danze, attorney for BRE. "We don't want any confusion about what is included or rights that only one bidder would have. The sale is for the Texas Rangers Baseball Partners assets, and that does not include the land."

Tom Hicks, the majority owner of BRE, said his investment group purchased the property in 1998 because we saw it as a strong long-term investment.

"That's the reason we wanted to keep it, but when serious bidders last December insisted on a sale, we agreed because we wanted to do everything in our power to make this transaction possible," said Hicks. "Now, this contract seems to have become a point of contention in this proceeding, so the right thing to do is formally cancel the agreement. Hopefully, in the future, we will be able to develop a retail and entertainment area close to the Ballpark."

Look for more news as it becomes available.

RELATED CONTENT:


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey, as well as a contributor to FanGraphs and Forbes SportsMoney. He is available for hire or freelance. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.

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