Bank­ruptcy judge nixes late higher bid on Rangers

Austin American-Statesman - - SPORTS -

FORT WORTH — A bank­ruptcy judge Fri­day re­jected a last-minute higher bid on the Texas Rangers from Ma­jor League Base­ball’s pre­ferred buyer, a deal that would have can­celed next week’s auc­tion.

Since U.S. Bank­ruptcy Judge D. Michael Lynn said Wed­nes­day’s auc­tion will pro­ceed as planned, the higher bid from a group led by Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan and Pitts­burgh at­tor­ney Chuck Green­berg is now off the ta­ble. That means the start­ing price at the auc­tion will still be $306.7 mil­lion, which is the cash por­tion of Green­berg-Ryan’s $520 mil­lion bid for the team. The group’s to­tal of­fer in­cludes an ad­di­tional $55 mil­lion or so for park­ing lots.

The court-ap­pointed re­struc­tur­ing of­fi­cer, Wil­liam Sny­der, had asked the judge to forgo an auc­tion. He said the Green­berg-Ryan group had sub­stan­tially in­creased its of­fer and re­moved “stinky” side deals con­sid­ered fa­vor­able to team owner Tom Hicks.

The new bid was filed un­der seal, but an at­tor­ney for the team, Ronit Berkovich, in­di­cated in court that it was $40 mil­lion higher.

Lynn said Fri­day that he did not be­lieve cred­i­tors’ claims that Sny­der was try­ing to make “an end run” to sell the team to Green­berg-Ryan’s group, which was cho­sen as the buyer af­ter the team’s orig­i­nal bid­ding process last year.

Cred­i­tors who have blocked that deal urged the judge Fri­day to pro­ceed with the auc­tion. Lynn made his de­ci­sion af­ter lawyers for Dal­las Mav­er­icks owner Mark Cuban and Hous­ton busi­ness­man Jim Crane said their clients would bid at the auc­tion.

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