SBD/17/Franchises

MARLINS SALE: AN EPIC STRUGGLE BETWEEN MEN AND FISH

          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).  

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