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MLB is concerned about Greenberg group's funding in the Texas Rangers bid

Dec 23, 2009, 5:55 PM EDT

UPDATE:  I received a call from someone with the Greenberg group. They couldn’t explicitly comment because of confidentiality agreements, but they deny the report that there is anything amiss with financing and say that everything is going just fine.

Fair enough. The way it breaks down right now, however, is that I have a source I trust and who has no dog in the hunt telling me that there are issues with the financing. I have a party with an undeniable interest in the matter telling me that all is hunky dory.  Absent anything new, I am going to stick with the report as it currently stands.  Greenberg has a window to negotiate. If he has a deal at the end of all of this, we’ll know that, ultimately, there weren’t any problems (or at least the problems were overcome).  If it falls through, we’ll know differently.

3:02 P.M.: A source is telling me that that the Chuck Greenberg/Nolan Ryan group’s bid for the Rangers is in trouble.  Money trouble, specifically, as in they’re having problems putting financing together and it has Major League Baseball concerned that the bid may not be viable. Tom Hicks — who stands to be a minority stakeholder in the Greenberg group and desperately needs to sell the team to save his Hicks Sports Group — is freaking out.

You’ll recall that Greenberg’s group beat out the MLB-favored bid led by former agent Dennis Gilbert and the reportedly highest bid by Houston businessman Jim Crane. What they won was an exclusive negotiating window.  It may have been the Hicks/Nolan Ryan factor more than the merits of the bid that won the day, however, because even before this report there were whispers that Greenberg, while a great minor league operator, may not have the financial wherewithal to pull this off.

If the Greenberg bid falls through, it’s back to square one.  Specifically, it would mean that the Rangers would be left with Gilbert, for whom Nolan Ryan said he would not work, and Crane, who everyone who matters in Major League baseball hates because he reneged on a previous bid for a team (UPDATE: Apparently hatchets, to the extent they ever were wielded along these lines have been buried. I missed this over the weekend. Apologies).

Merry Christmas Rangers fans!

  1. Jason @ IIATMS - Dec 23, 2009 at 3:14 PM

    And a Festivus for the restivus

  2. YankeesfanLen - Dec 23, 2009 at 3:22 PM

    You know, I really don’t like to see the AL West screwed up. The Rangers made a good play of it early last season and could probably do as much this year. Seattle has brilliantly made some advances through trades and signings. Either of these could compete with the Angels, their current situation aside, they always scare the Universe.
    Off-the-wall Xmas predictions:
    NL East- Phils, Braves
    NL Central- Cards, Brewers
    NL West- Rockies
    AL Central- Twins
    AL West- Angels, Mariners, Rangers
    AL East- 107 win team
    So, we have the AL West with the Wild Card and the only race.
    Festivus Miracle: I’m partial to the Rangers and wish them well.

  3. Maury Brown - Dec 23, 2009 at 3:26 PM

    Leveraging

  4. YankeesfanLen - Dec 23, 2009 at 3:26 PM

    Seasons Greetings, Jason! Apparently the aluminum poles (high strength-to-weight ratio) are springing up all around NY Metro.

  5. ecp - Dec 23, 2009 at 3:47 PM

    It strikes me as odd and a potential conflict of interest that the person selecting the bid to accept can be both the current owner AND a member of the selected group. Why is there no fraud involved in such a setup? Craig, an explanation?

  6. Craig Calcaterra - Dec 23, 2009 at 3:54 PM

    Couple of things: Hicks, as an individual investor, is on the Greenberg bid. The current owner of the Rangers is Hicks Sports Group, which is a company with several investors and controlled by Hicks. Sure, that doesn’t fix everything (more below) but there are, technically speaking, two separate entities on each side of the deal.
    Practically, yes, this is Hicks selling to Hicks (as a minority investor). There could be trouble there, but only if someone on one side of the deal objects. Private sale of private entities and all of that. Theoretically an investor in Hicks Sport Group could complain that he’s not getting the most out of his investment if Tom Hicks gamed it to benefit himself, but his rights to sue are limited by his agreement with HSG, etc.
    Most likely: anyone in a position to complain is fine with a Greenberg/Hicks deal for whatever reasons, be it a side deal, no difference between their return from one buyer or another, etc.

  7. ibanezshred - Dec 23, 2009 at 6:32 PM

    Can we please,please,please have an owner who has the cash & the desire to make the Rangers a winner? Don’t we deserve at least one owner that has unlimited pockets & Nolan Ryan running the team? I think Jon Daniels would be good as long as he wasn’t tied up with lack of finances. Please the Rangers owe us this after failure upon failure of owners without the money or desire or both to win.
    Ibanezshred

  8. Pete - Dec 23, 2009 at 6:44 PM

    Nice reporting here, and sucks for Tom Hicks and Co. but they did give out some dumb contracts over the years.

  9. Casey - Dec 24, 2009 at 5:34 AM

    You may trust your sources, but based on what I’ve read from you I don’t trust this story at all.
    Think about it, genius. Why would Tom Hicks, who desperately needs this deal to go through, pick the Greenberg group if he thought there was any way the deal would fall through?
    The newspapers in Texas have reported that Nolan Ryan played a key role in rounding up the group of mostly local investors. I’m going to guess that Ryan, who owned a bank at one time (he may still own one), did a reasonable amount of due diligence on each of these investors before bringing their names back to Greenberg.
    You have no credibility, fella, and this story proves it.

  10. Craig Calcaterra - Dec 24, 2009 at 5:39 AM

    Perhaps because Hicks is part of the Greenberg bid himself, in his individual capacity, and wants desperately to remain part of the Rangers’ ownership.
    And after what has occurred in the financial sector in the past year, are you seriously suggesting that a person’s owning of a bank renders them immune from financial mistakes and misjudgments?
    As for my credibility, I suppose we’ll see what happens. If I’m wrong, I’m wrong. If I’m right, I’m right. You, however, seem to have made up your mind already. Not sure how you could know for sure, but good for you.

  11. ray stefl - Dec 24, 2009 at 10:23 AM

    Please get this fixed without Hicks. He doesn’t want to win, he only cares about money. As a loyal fan, we need to get an owner that cares and will spend to compete. The west is really up for grabs with the Angels losing key players. Get some key free agents to add to the mix of our young quality players, and build a winner. Daniels does great and allow him to do his job. Keep Ryan, he is a major part of this team! Summers are long and hot here, is sucks when watching a losing team.

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