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NO JOY IN MUDVILLE FOR WORLD CHAMPS AS HUIZENGA TO SELL TEAM
Published November 7, 1997
Eleven days after winning the World Series, Wayne Huizenga is "unloading" the Marlins to a group headed by team President Don Smiley, according to Larry Lebowitz of the Fort Lauderdale SUN-SENTINEL. Huizenga and Smiley said on Thursday that they are trying to close a deal in the next 30 days. They "refused to name a price, but Smiley is thought to be raising" $160M -- $150M to buy the team and another $10M for working capital. Once Smiley closes the deal with Huizenga and receives MLB approval, "his next step will be trying to win a new stadium financing package and tax breaks from local and state legislators." Smiley: "If not, we have to make the next decision. We should know where we are by mid-1998 [when the state Legislature meets]" (SUN-SENTINEL, 11/7). In Miami, Barry Jackson reports that the Marlins will cut their $49M payroll, "likely" to the $20-25M range. Smiley said he is about two-thirds of the way toward meeting Huizenga's asking price, but his bid "does not appear at risk." Huizenga said that Smiley will be given 30 days to secure additional funding, and if it helps close the deal, he said he will retain a minority interest. Smiley will also have other options, including borrowing from Huizenga or a bank, or promising deferred payments in a year or two. Huizenga: "I'm going to do anything to make this work" (MIAMI HERALD, 11/7). STADIUM PLAN: If the Marlins don't have a commitment for a new ballpark by mid-'98, Smiley said that they would "start looking at other options" including selling or moving the team (Lebowitz & Lynch, SUN-SENTINEL, 11/7).