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INTERBOO! BLUE JAYS OWNER PULLS TEAM FRUM OPEN MARKET
Published October 31, 1997
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).