Will Jorge Mas remain in the bidding?
In the latest twist in the Marlins sale process, questions arose Monday as to whether South Florida businessman Jorge Mas will remain in the bidding.
One source close to Mas confirmed the prominent South Floridian might consider dropping out of the negotiations if something isn’t decided soon, as was first reported by Fox Business. A second source suggested the Marlins expect Mas to drop out.
Whether this is big-deal posturing or not, the heart of the issue is Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria’s $1.2 billion asking price that none of the three interested groups have agreed to meet.
MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said last week that each of the groups — Mas’s, one led by Derek Jeter and the other headed by Tagg Romney and Wayne Rothbaum — has the financial standing to buy the team and that it’s up to Loria to decide on a deal.
Mas is frustrated by a few things, the source close to him said: the never-ending sales process; the lack of an exclusive rights window to negotiate with Loria; and the fact the team isn’t “worth close to $1.2 billion.”
Loria and Marlins president David Samson, by contrast, don’t want to afford any group an exclusive window to negotiate in hopes competitive bidding will drive up the price.
The public nature of the Marlins bid seems to be taking a toll on potential investors, a source said. Some people approached to invest in groups have expressed interest only to back out when they have seen names going public for weeks.
The commissioner’s office hopes to wrap up a deal in time for it to be voted on at the August owners’ meetings. That timeline is in question the longer there’s no apparent movement in negotiations.
Mas, chairman of both MasTec in Coral Gables and the Cuban American National Foundation, attended last week’s All-Star Game at Marlins Park, where he sat just behind Loria.
Leaving the ballpark that night, Mas expressed optimism about reaching a deal to buy the team, saying, “We’re getting close, I think.”