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IS CLANCY'S BID FOR VIKINGS NEAR "COLLAPSE"?
Published May 15, 1998
Tom Clancy's bid to buy the Vikings "appeared on the verge of collapse Thursday as new deal-breakers emerged," according to Don Banks of the Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE. Vikings owners say that "potential flaws" include: an effort by Clancy to lower the $200M purchase price by about $15M; the inclusion of Rockets Owner Leslie Alexander in Clancy's group; and "continuing concerns that Clancy, who is going through a divorce, does not have the personal fortune to own a team." Three NFL owners said that the current deal "will not be approved by the owners," and "several" Vikings co- owners said that the inclusion of Alexander "could prompt them to vote against the final sale agreement." Clancy spokesperson Marc Ganis dismissed the possibility that the deal was in trouble and said, "A lot of what is coming out is over-reaction" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 5/15). DETAILS & QUESTIONS: In St. Paul, Jeff Seidel reports that some Vikings owners were "irked" that Ganis tried to modify the deal by requesting to have part of the payment deferred because the team has assumed additional debt re- signing free agents. Ganis said that the changes he requested amounted to less than 10% of the purchase price. He said that the proposal "has been withdrawn, but several owners called it a sticking point in negotiations." Meanwhile, reports have varied on how much Alexander and Clancy would invest and sources said that the NFL's concern about approving the deal "stems from the fact Alexander would have more cash invested in the team than Clancy." Vikings co-Owner Wheelock Whitney said that Clancy needs to have a $60M commitment to get league approval. Whitney: "We didn't sell the team to Alexander; we sold it to Clancy." But Ganis said $60M was not an accurate figure for Clancy's investment (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 5/15). In St. Paul, columnist Bob Sansevere: "Ganis has put the deal together. If this deal flies, it will be because of Ganis. If it fails, it will be because of Ganis" (PIONEER PRESS, 5/15). MORE NEWS: In Houston, John Williams reports that NFL officials said yesterday "they will take steps" to make sure the Vikings stay put, "including making their next owner promise not to break the team's Metrodome lease." Williams adds that while Alexander has entered the picture, Houston businessman Bob McNair said he "dropped his interest" in the Vikings after being told they have a performance lease locking them to MN. In "the past two weeks," McNair offered $200M for the team "amid speculation Clancy's proposal would crater" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 5/15). If Clancy's deal does fall through, San Antonio business exec Red McCombs said "he's ready to make a cash transaction." McCombs: "We could close in 24 hours" (Charley Walters, PIONEER PRESS, 5/15). ...In their divorce proceeding, Clancy's wife Wanda estimates in her counterclaim that Clancy's current holdings and contracts for future books are worth "at least" $191M. She hasn't said how much she wants, only that she is aiming for her "fair share" (Annie Gowen, WASHINGTON POST, 5/15).