SBJ/June 18 - 24, 2001/This Weeks Issue

Red Sox shoppers have long green

One thing appears certain. The Boston Red Sox will choose a new owner from a who's who of the well-heeled.

Leading the moneyed pack is Cablevision Systems Corp. Chairman Charles Dolan, who is worth $3 billion and tied for 80th on the Forbes list of wealthiest Americans. A distant but affluent second is Roger Marino, the former owner of the NHL Pittsburgh Penguins and founder of EMC. Forbes pegs his worth at $1.2 billion.

Others who were authorized by Major League Baseball to review the Red Sox finances before making an offer include Delaware North Cos. President Jeremy Jacobs, who already owns the Boston Bruins and the FleetCenter, and Tom Werner, the television producer who created "The Cosby Show" and "Roseanne."

Justin Morreale, the attorney leading the search for the Red Sox, refused comment, saying the bidding process is private. MLB would not confirm the identity of the bidders. Sources said there were as many as eight.

"There are a bunch of them," MLB spokesman Vince Wladika said. "Now it's up to them to do their due diligence and decide whether they want to make an offer."

The process could take weeks or it could take months. The Red Sox choice must be approved by its limited partners and by major league owners, who twice in the past two years have refused to approve new owners for other teams. No deal is expected before the end of the season.

CEO John Harrington said last year that the Jean R. Yawkey Trust, which owns 53 percent of the team, would put its shares up for sale. Since then, observers have pegged their worth at $300 million to $400 million.

Others said to be approved by MLB include a group led by Joe O'Donnell, who runs the Suffolk Downs thoroughbred racetrack in East Boston, and concessionaire Aramark Corp., which is already a limited partner in the team.

None of the suspected bidders is a stranger to sports. Dolan's company controls Madison Square Garden and the New York Knicks and Rangers, and Dolan's brother Larry owns the Cleveland Indians. Werner leads a group that includes former American Skiing Co. executive Leslie Otten, and he was managing partner of the San Diego Padres from 1990 to 1994.

Jacobs, who is not particularly popular as the Bruins owner, is already partners with the Red Sox in the New England Sports Network, the regional network that carries both the Red Sox and Bruins.

O'Donnell's group is the most local. It includes developer Steven Karp, Connecticut businessman Craig Stapleton and Concord, Mass., historian Doris Kearns Goodwin.

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