SBD/22/Franchises

AS PIRATES DEADLINE NEARS, MCCLATCHY LINES UP INVESTORS

     Kevin McClatchy, the 32-year old heir to the McClatchy
newspaper chain, is "expected to reveal today the three or four
investors who may help him buy the Pirates," according to Steve
Halvonik in today's PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE.  That group could
reportedly include Anthony J.F. O'Reilly, Chair of the H.J. Heinz
Co.  A Heinz spokesperson confirmed the two had talked, but was
unsure whether an agreement had been reached.  However, O'Reilly
reportedly made a "personal commitment" of about $1M and also
told McClatchy that Heinz might make a corporate pledge of $4-5M.
Pirate ownership has given McClatchy an "exclusive option" to buy
the team, which expires at midnight tonight.  While O'Reilly's
personal commitment is "modest, his name carries enough heft that
it may be difficult for the Pirates' owners to reject any
ownership group that includes him."  An O'Reilly commitment could
also buy McClatchy "a time extension."  Liberty Media is also
"weighing a financial investment," but that depends on MLB owners
"who typically frown on media conglomerates taking ownership
stakes in teams" (PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 9/22).  Investors in
the McClatchy group include Dolphins QB/Pittsburgh native Dan
Marino, and Chip Ganassi, who owns an IndyCar team with Joe
Montana.  Reports are that McClatchy is interested in adding
Montana, who is also a native of Western PA (WASHINGTON POST,
9/22).
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