SBD/13/Franchises

BY GEORGE HE DOES IT! STEINBRENNER MAKES OFFER FOR BUCS

     Yankees Owner George Steinbrenner stepped to the plate
yesterday as he submitted an 11th hour offer to buy the Bucs.
Steinbrenner, who offered a reported $170M-$180M for the team,
said "he is the organizer of the group, but not the majority
partner."  NFL rules prohibits cross-ownership with other major
pro sports teams, but Steinbrenner said, "We have handled that
within our group so that is not going to be an issue."  He refused
to disclose any of his partners, although they are to believed to
include former Chrysler Chair Lee Iacocca, Twins Owner Carl
Pohlad, billionaire investor Lester Crown, and Steinbrenner's two
sons.  The Yankees owner would not disclose numbers, only saying:
"I don't go into it unless I think it's right.  It's the right
price."  Bucs trust spokesperson Steve Story called the bid "a
competitive offer, but it's a different kind of offer."  He said
it would be considered along with the three other bids already on
the table (Marc Topkin, ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 1/13).  On the "CBS
Evening News" last night, Steinbrenner reiterated his hope to keep
the team in Tampa: "To lose the pro football team would be
devastating.  Because it would be a stigma that would be attached
to this community that we wouldn't lose quickly" (CBS, 1/12).  The
bid by the Steinbrenner group came as the trustees "apparently
were nearly ready to accept" an estimated $192M offer from Palm
Beach financier Malcolm Glazer.  Steinbrenner, on whether his
offer was competitive with Orioles Owner Peter Angelos: "I don't
like to lose, whether it's to the Orioles or Peter, who is a
worthy competitor."  Local officials praised the bid, but
Steinbrenner "shrugged off" suggestions he is Tampa's savior: "I'm
not a white knight.  I'm a gray-haired old man" (Henderson &
Pugliese, TAMPA TRIBUNE, 1/13).
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