Rangers’ auc­tion on de­spite protests

Judge says team will be on block next month

Austin American-Statesman - - SPORTS - By An­gela K. Brown

FORT WORTH — A fed­eral bank­ruptcy judge de­cided Tues­day that the Texas Rangers will be auc­tioned off af­ter all, de­spite an­gry cred­i­tors’ claims that the bid­ding process is un­fair and still fa­vors Ma­jor League Base­ball’s pre­ferred buyer.

U.S. Bank­ruptcy Judge D. Michael Lynn set the auc­tion for Aug. 4 af­ter chang­ing some of the team’s pro­posed bid­ding pro­ce­dures, cit­ing a “need to bring or­der from chaos.” The fi­nal hear­ing on whether to ap­prove the Rangers’ bank­ruptcy plan was set for later that day.

Af­ter the auc­tion, Ma­jor League Base­ball will still be able to re­ject the high­est bid­der and ap­prove the next high­est bid — some­thing len­ders op­posed. If that hap­pens, the judge can de­ter­mine if the league acted in good faith, ac­cord­ing to re­vised pro­ce­dures.

Months ago the league gave its bless­ing to a group led by team pres­i­dent and Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan and Pitts­burgh sports at­tor­ney Chuck Green­berg, se­lected as the buy­ers af­ter a bid­ding process last year.

But be­cause an­gry cred­i­tors stalled the sale over fi­nan­cial con­cerns, the team filed for Chap­ter 11 pro­tec­tion in May with a plan to re­pay len­ders $75 mil­lion and sell the club to Green­berg and Ryan’s group.

Al­though len­ders said that bid was not the high­est and the court-ap­pointed chief re­struc­tur­ing of­fi­cer rec­om­mended a new round of bid­ding, only the team and the Green­berg-Ryan group pushed for the auc­tion Tues­day.

Attorneys for the cred­i­tors and re- struc­tur­ing of­fi­cer said they no longer sup­ported an auc­tion be­cause the bid­ding pro­ce­dures and timetable would limit a po­ten­tial buyer’s abil­ity to se­cure fi­nanc­ing. They also said MLB still wants the Green­berg-Ryan group.

“He doesn’t be­lieve any­body’s go­ing to show up and bid,” said at­tor­ney Louis Strubeck, re­fer­ring to the re­struc­tur­ing of­fi­cer, Wil­liam K. Sny­der.

But Sandy Esser­man, an at­tor­ney for Ma­jor League Base­ball, said it has al­ready ap­proved two other bid­ders — Hous­ton busi­ness­man Jim Crane and Dal­las in­vestor Jeff Beck — both part of failed bid at­tempts last year.

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