SBD/31/Franchises

INTERBOO! BLUE JAYS OWNER PULLS TEAM FRUM OPEN MARKET

          Interbrew SA announced yesterday that the Blue Jays are
     no longer for sale "because lengthy wrangling over a sale was
     causing uncertainty and distracting the team," according to
     Van Alphen & Byers of the TORONTO STAR.  The move comes after
     Interbrew's board "rejected" a bid led by real estate
     developer Murray Frum and "decided not to wait for a pending
     bid" from a consortium led by Toronto lawyer Lawrence Dale. 
     Interbrew Dir Alan Chapin: "We decided that this prolonged
     process of trying to find local partners was no longer in the
     best interests of the team or its fans."  In addition to its
     90% stake in the Jays, Interbrew will retain the CFL
     Argonauts and a 49% stake in the SkyDome.  Van Alphen & Byers
     report that "insiders" say the deal with Frum "collapsed
     because Interbrew could not guarantee its stake in the
     SkyDome would be part of the deal," since the other SkyDome
     partners get the first chance to buy any owner's share "and
     several had indicated they wanted Interbrew's stake."  Frum:
     "I'm very disappointed" (TORONTO STAR, 10/31).  Dale said he
     and his group, which entered the bidding two weeks ago, are
     still interested in the Jays.  But Chapin said, "It's off the
     market, period.  How long, it's not useful to speculate. 
     We're not going to be talking to the Frum group any longer or
     the Dale group" (James Christie, GLOBE & MAIL, 10/31).  
          TRICK OR TREAT? In Toronto, Janet McFarland reports that
     analysts yesterday said Interbrew's decision to keep its
     teams "is not evidence of a long-term commitment" to them. 
     They believe Interbrew "was unhappy with the price it was
     offered for its sports assets and has decided to hold on
     until they recover some of their value" (GLOBE & MAIL,
     10/31).  Columnist Stephen Brunt speculates that the deal
     with Frum "fell apart because in the end, when forced to put
     up or shut up by the appearance of a rival bidder, Frum and
     his partners simply didn't have the money" (GLOBE & MAIL,
     10/31).  Also in Toronto, Mike Rutsey writes that the value
     of the Jays "has plummeted" since Interbrew took over.  But
     Chapin disputed such talk, claiming a sports franchise has an
     "intrinsic value that bears little relationship to its
     performance on the field" (Mike Rutsey, TORONTO SUN, 10/31).
     
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CFL, Franchises, Toronto Blue Jays

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