Mar­lins sale

Will Jorge Mas re­main in the bid­ding?

Sun Sentinel Palm Beach Edition - - FRONT PAGE - By Dave Hyde Staff writer

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.”

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