SBD/Issue 121/Franchises

Rangers Sale To Greenberg Stalled Due To Lenders' Concerns

Latest Delay In Rangers Sale Means Deal
Is Unlikely To Close By Opening Day

The sale of the Rangers stalled last week "after MLB informed the team's creditors that there would be delays in responding to the lenders' concerns" about the deal, according to sources cited by Daniel Kaplan of SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL. The sources said that the developments "serve as a challenge to would-be buyer Chuck Greenberg's stated goal of having the transaction closed by Opening Day, if it can close at all." Greenberg reached a formal agreement earlier this year to buy the club from Tom Hicks. But creditors are "unhappy with the structure" of the proposed $570M deal because only $230M "would flow to the lenders, according to terms of the initial deal submitted to them in late January." The creditors are looking for at least $300M. Kaplan notes MLB, "acting as intermediary between the creditors" and Hicks Sports Group, was "scheduled to respond by Feb. 26 to their demand for more cash." Sources indicated that the league last Monday informed the lenders that there were "delays but did not offer details for why the delays were happening." Still, Greenberg is "moving on another front to get the deal done." Sources said that he has arranged a loan commitment from Bank of America for $140M to "help fund the deal in the event the creditors agree to it." One source noted that Greenberg plans to tap only $80M of that loan immediately, "leaving the remainder in reserve" (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 3/8 issue). Greenberg said, "The way I see it, we are still on schedule for April 1. ... We've had delays, not of our making, but you deal with it and move on. Nothing yet has knocked us off the April 1 date" (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 3/7).

HICKS STILL CONFIDENT OF SALE: Hicks said that he "expects that the sale of the team will be completed, though he isn't sure when it will get done." Hicks: "It's very complicated. I think none of that will have any impact on the team. With the continuity of Nolan, I think it'll be business as usual" (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 3/6).

OFF TO A BETTER START: ESPN DALLAS' Richard Durrett reported the Rangers "sold more than 92,000 tickets on the first day of the individual ticket sales" on Saturday, an increase of more than 3% from the same day in '09 (ESPNDALLAS.com, 3/6).

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