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MARLINS SALE: AN EPIC STRUGGLE BETWEEN MEN AND FISH
Published July 17, 1998
Agent Joe Cubas met with Huizenga Holdings President Rick Rochon yesterday to discuss buying the Marlins and "came away optimistic he can point the team in a new direction," according to Armando Salguero of the MIAMI HERALD. While Marlins President Don Smiley is still "considered the front-runner" to buy the club, lawyers for Cubas will participate in a conference call with MLB "to discuss the next step." Cubas "would not name" his potential investors, which number "fewer than" 10, but claimed that his group is "complete save for one more entity that is still negotiating." Cubas: "If Don Smiley really has the inside track, the Huizenga people would have no need to speak to us. Our window of opportunity is open." Cubas added that if his bid were successful, he would "infuse" the Marlins' $12M payroll, "perhaps by as much as" $20M his first year (MIAMI HERALD, 7/17). Cubas has yet to make an official offer for the team (MIAMI HERALD, 7/17). CRY AND YOU CRY ALONE: Smiley met yesterday with WQAM- AM station owner George Beasley "in hopes of" getting Beasley to contribute $15M toward his bid, according to Alan Snel of the Fort Lauderdale SUN-SENTINEL. Chip Gesner, a financial consultant for the Smiley group, said that if Beasley joins the bid, "the investor team would be complete" (SUN-SENTINEL, 7/17). Smiley also spoke with Beasley and WQAM co-Owner Greg Reed about allowing the station, which currently has three years remaining on its deal to carry the Marlins at $3M per season, out of its contract. In exchange, Beasley and Reed would invest $15M in Smiley's bid, and the Marlins would buy time on the station for its games and keep the ad revenue. (MIAMI HERALD, 7/17) A source close to Smiley's negotiations to bring Barry Diller's USA Broadcasting into his group said that a "deal is not final." The source said that USA "is still looking at it" (Fort Lauderdale SUN-SENTINEL, 7/17).