INTERBOO! BLUE JAYS OWNER PULLS TEAM FRUM OPEN MARKET
Interbrew SA announced yesterday that the Blue Jays are
no longer for sale "because lengthy wrangling over a sale was
causing uncertainty and distracting the team," according to
Van Alphen & Byers of the TORONTO STAR. The move comes after
Interbrew's board "rejected" a bid led by real estate
developer Murray Frum and "decided not to wait for a pending
bid" from a consortium led by Toronto lawyer Lawrence Dale.
Interbrew Dir Alan Chapin: "We decided that this prolonged
process of trying to find local partners was no longer in the
best interests of the team or its fans." In addition to its
90% stake in the Jays, Interbrew will retain the CFL
Argonauts and a 49% stake in the SkyDome. Van Alphen & Byers
report that "insiders" say the deal with Frum "collapsed
because Interbrew could not guarantee its stake in the
SkyDome would be part of the deal," since the other SkyDome
partners get the first chance to buy any owner's share "and
several had indicated they wanted Interbrew's stake." Frum:
"I'm very disappointed" (TORONTO STAR, 10/31). Dale said he
and his group, which entered the bidding two weeks ago, are
still interested in the Jays. But Chapin said, "It's off the
market, period. How long, it's not useful to speculate.
We're not going to be talking to the Frum group any longer or
the Dale group" (James Christie, GLOBE & MAIL, 10/31).
TRICK OR TREAT? In Toronto, Janet McFarland reports that
analysts yesterday said Interbrew's decision to keep its
teams "is not evidence of a long-term commitment" to them.
They believe Interbrew "was unhappy with the price it was
offered for its sports assets and has decided to hold on
until they recover some of their value" (GLOBE & MAIL,
10/31). Columnist Stephen Brunt speculates that the deal
with Frum "fell apart because in the end, when forced to put
up or shut up by the appearance of a rival bidder, Frum and
his partners simply didn't have the money" (GLOBE & MAIL,
10/31). Also in Toronto, Mike Rutsey writes that the value
of the Jays "has plummeted" since Interbrew took over. But
Chapin disputed such talk, claiming a sports franchise has an
"intrinsic value that bears little relationship to its
performance on the field" (Mike Rutsey, TORONTO SUN, 10/31).