SBD/Issue 84/Franchises

Drayton McLane Says He Has No Firm Desire To Sell Astros

Astros Owner Puts Chances Of Sale At Less Than 50%
Astros Owner Drayton McLane maintained he and his family hold no firm desire to sell the club, despite engaging in an exclusive negotiating period with a N.Y.-based investment group that extends to the end of the month. "We have not solicited this, and even if this is found to be a viable bid, there's no guarantee of a sale. All we've said is that if a viable bid does surface, my family will consider it." McLane declined to say whether the oft-rumored price tag of $650M is accurate, but said, "We have a very valuable franchise and a good RSN situation (with FS Houston)." McLane likened the matter to a car dealer who phones a prospective client about a new car that arrived to the lot. "I didn't go to the showroom. They called me. Whether we go and look remains to be seen," he said (Eric Fisher, SportsBusiness Journal). SI.com's Jon Heyman wrote while McLane has said that there is "'less than a 50-50 chance' that a deal will occur for 'various reasons,'" the investment group is "serious" about buying the team. But the main reason why "all ownership deals are having difficulty now is the economy," as banks are "requiring more money down than ever and rich people aren't quite as rich or risk-inclined as they were before the crash of 2008" (SI.com, 1/13).

FINAL HURDLES: MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan noted the 30-day exclusive negotiating period granted to prospective MLB Rangers Owner Chuck Greenberg ends Friday, and "one significant issue that remains is how big of a role" Rangers Owner Tom Hicks "will play in the new ownership group." Hicks yesterday made it clear that he and his family "will remain a significant investor in any new ownership group." Hicks: "You're not getting rid of us." Hicks "could be the second largest investor in the group." But it is "still unknown what role Hicks will have," and "word is the negotiations have been complicated" (MLB.com, 1/13). In Ft. Worth, Jeff Wilson notes the Rangers fan base "just assumes that the transition from" Hicks to the Greenberg group, which includes Rangers President Nolan Ryan, "is a done deal." But the job "isn't done." Three things could be announced late Friday or sometime Saturday:  An agreement is "reached, the process moves to baseball's ownership committee, and Greenberg-Ryan is that much closer to seizing control;" an agreement "isn't reached, but both sides pledge to continue working toward one by the start of spring training;" or Hicks "casts aside public sentiment and the momentum generated the past month by announcing that he is seeking another investment group" (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 1/14).

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