Baseball’s Rangers May Go To Auction

Jul 12 2010 | 8:48am ET

The hedge fund creditors fighting the sale of baseball’s Texas Rangers may get their wish, after all: A higher bid for the bankrupt—if first place—team.

A court-appointed restructuring officer has recommended that the team be sold in a one-day auction, possibly as soon as the next mediating session over the team tomorrow. Major League Baseball has thrown all of its weight behind a group led by Pittsburgh lawyer Chuck Greenberg and Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan, but creditors led by hedge fund Monarch Alternative Capital have fought that deal, calling it the lowest of the three bids for the team. The Rangers are currently owned by private equity honcho Tom Hicks, who is selling the team after defaulting on more than $500 million in debt last year.

Under the auction—which would be held no later than July 16 and whose results could be opposed by MLB—the Rangers would fetch at least $15 million more than $575 million believed to be offered by the Greenberg/Ryan group. That $15 million would go to Greenberg and Ryan to cover their expenses.

A Dallas judge earlier this month once again delayed the Rangers’ reorganization confirmation hearing, which is now scheduled for July 22. The uncertainty surrounding the team hasn’t hurt it on the field: The Rangers are currently in first place in the American League West division, and last week traded for Cliff Lee, one of the best pitchers in baseball.

The two “losing” bidders for the Rangers are believed to still be interested in the team, as is Mark Cuban, the owner of basketball’s Dallas Mavericks. The outspoken Cuban has joined the bid headed by Dennis Gilbert and Jeff Beck, the New York Post reports.

It’s not the first time Cuban has tried to add a baseball team to his stable. Two years ago, he was the highest bidder for the Chicago Cubs, but lost, reportedly because MLB did not want Cuban as an owner.


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