UPDATED: Added league statement
The scheduled vote to approve the sale of the Houston Astros from Dayton McLane to Jim Crane has been delayed, according to a report by Richard Justice of the Houston Chronicle and confirmed by league sources to BizofBaseball.com. The vote is being delayed to conduct further due-diligence – even after doing so for 3 months prior – on Crane. According to the league, the feeling is that currently there is not sufficient support to conduct a vote of the league’s 29 other owners to approve Crane. It is not known whether there is enough concern to prevent Crane from being approved in the sale, period, even after further due-diligence is conducted.
The league released a statement reading, “The standard due diligence that must be completed before any transaction of this magnitude can close remains ongoing. Because that procedure is continuing, it is not expected that the proposed sale of the Astros will go to the approval process at this week’s owners meetings. Major League Baseball will continue to work as expeditiously as possible to complete the process.”
The league would not say whether Crane’s company, Eagle Global Logistics prior dealings with Equal Employment Opportunity Commissioner in 1997, or war profiteering during the Iraq War continues to play a part. After stories surfaced here on BizofBaseball.com, Forbes, and the New York Times, it was reported that Crane diversified his ownership group with more minorities. Former Houston Rocket great Clyde Drexler has been rumored to be part of Crane’s group.
SEE Why Jim Crane Could Become Baseball’s Most Controversial Owner
Sources did say that the financial structure of the deal between Crane and Drayton McLane was “not something to focus on.” Crane’s deal would be leveraged and put the club in violation of the league’s debt service rules, but unlike Dodgers owner Frank McCourt, who had a leveraged purchase, Crane has a considerable amount of liquid capital at his disposal.
As early as two weeks ago, sources to The Biz of Baseball felt confident that a vote to approve Crane would take place.
Maury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey, and is a contributor to Forbes SportsMoney blog.. He is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network (select his name in the dropdown provided).
Follow Maury Brown on Twitter
Follow The Biz of Baseball on Twitter
Follow the Business of Sports Network on Facebook