Hedge Fund Creditors OK Baseball Team’s Sale

Aug 6 2010 | 9:01am ET

When all was said and done, Pittsburgh lawyer Chuck Greenberg and Baseball Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan wound up getting the Texas Rangers. But the creditors that blocked their first bid for the baseball team would up getting what they wanted: more money.

The hedge fund creditors, led by Monarch Alternative Capital, pushed for the auction that ended yesterday, with the Greenberg-Ryan group agreeing to pay $593 million for the bankrupt team, currently owned by private equity mogul Tom Hicks. The sale of the team was precipitated by Hicks’ default on $525 million in loans secured by his sports teams last year, as first reported by FINalternatives.

After the Greenberg-Ryan group had outbid another group led by Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, the creditors accepted the bid, which, while only slightly higher than their original $575 million deal, will net the creditors an extra $130 million. A large chunk of the original agreement between Greenberg, Ryan and Hicks would have gone directly to Hicks to buy land surrounding the Rangers’ stadium in Arlington, Texas.

Later yesterday, a federal judge approved the Rangers’ plan to exit bankruptcy protection. The judge also said that the creditors can sue other entities of the Hicks Sports Group, which include hockey’s Dallas Stars.

“I was wrong,” creditors’ lawyer Andrew Leblanc said at the court hearing. “I’ve never been happier to say I was wrong.”

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