Defaulted Hicks To Sell Baseball Team

Jan 25 2010 | 7:30am ET

Private equity veteran Tom Hicks has finally struck a deal to sell the Texas Rangers baseball team, more than nine months after his sports holding company defaulted on more than $500 million in loans.

The Hicks Sports Group officially announced the sale, which has been months in the making, on Saturday night. No final sale price was set, but the Rangers, who play outside of Dallas, are expected to fetch more than $500 million.

The new owners of the team are led by Chuck Greenberg, a Pittsburgh lawyer, and Nolan Ryan, the legendary Hall of Fame pitcher who has served as Rangers president for the last two years. Ryan will retain control of the club’s operations as part of the deal.

“Together, we have worked exhaustively since last month to attain this agreement,” Hicks said in a statement. “It’s a complex business deal that positions the franchise positively for the future.”

Hicks, who made his billions on leveraged buyouts, founded p.e. firm Hicks Muse Tate & Furst in 1989. The firm is now called HM Capital. He bought the Rangers in 1998 from an ownership group that included former President George W. Bush. Hicks will have the title of chairman emeritus at the baseball team.

HSG’s lenders declared it in default on some $515 million in syndicated loans in April. The group’s default was first reported by FINalternatives.

The deal still requires the approval of some 40 lenders to HSG, as well as of Major League Baseball. Hicks has separately agreed to sell or transfer 153 of the 195 acres surrounding Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Texas, but will retain the remaining 42.

Hicks, who still owns hockey’s Dallas Star and a 50% stake in English soccer team Liverpool Football Club, also last week agreed to sell his Aspen, Colo., estate for $18.5 million.

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Tom Hicks’ Sports Group Defaults On $525 Million In Loans


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