While the sale of the Texas Rangers moved past its 30-day window this past Friday, lawyers for Hicks Sports Group and the group headed by Chuck Greenberg and Nolan Ryan have been working almost non-stop to complete the sale. According to a source close to the negotiations, the process is down to “dotting the “i”s and crossing the “t”s” with the sale being completed “very, very shortly.”
The prospect that a deal could be reached by the weekend continues to be the effort.
While there had been discussions that the exclusive negotiations between Greenberg/Ryan group might be dropped and other bidders, such as Jim Crane might jump back into the mix, that activity does not seem to be occurring, another sign that the sale is exceptionally close to being completed.
As for the sale price, we had projected a ceiling of approx. $530 million. That may have been a reasonable point in the negotiations, but with HSG’s 40 creditors looking to gain as much as possible from the sale, reports, such as one from SI.com’s Jon Heyman, have the price pegged at approx. $570 million.
When the deal is completed, Greenberg will be the managing partner, Ryan will continue being the president of the Rangers, and current owner Tom Hicks will stay with the organization as a minority partner, holding the second highest amount of equity in the club.
An aspect of the sale that has not been discussed involves Hicks’ retaining minority ownership and tax avoidance. If Hicks were to have sold the club outright, he would have had to pay capital gains tax in the tens of millions of dollars. In the recent $845 million sale of the Chicago Cubs from the Tribune Co. to the Ricketts family that has Tribune retaining a 5 percent ownership stake in the club, Tribune saved approx. $100 million in taxes. With Hicks staying on as a minority partner, he will avoid such taxes.
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