In Advance of Tomorrow's Big Hearing in Rangers Bankruptcy, Some Key Revelations
Actually, it's more or less one key revelation -- and we already had an idea what it was anyhow, which is: Houston's Jim Crane offered more for the Texas Rangers than Chuck Greenberg. And, according to e-mails from Hicks Sports Group's legal counsel and Major League Baseball made public in legal docs filed over the weekend in advance of tomorrow's latest showdown in Fort Worth bankruptcy court, Crane's offer was a good $13 to $20 million more than Greenberg's.
According to a brief and supporting docs filed by the first-lien lenders, HSG's legal rep Glenn West, a partner at Weil Gotshal, told Ronan Wicks, a New York-based attorney repping some of the team's lenders, that, hey, Hicks and his team wanted to go with Crane -- but that Major League Baseball was basically running the show, and that was a no-go. Wrote West on New Year's Eve:
"Basically, the response from the MLB was to prohibit us from negotiating with anyone other than Greenberg. Their intent seems to be to lock us into Greenberg even though Crane now has a clearly superior economic deal ‐‐ and may always have had based on Greenberg's current position. We need help here. Unless the lenders weigh in, we are going to be stuck negotiating a deal that is clearly worse than Crane's. Crane is fully financed and can close on Feb. 1 (which is important because the longer we go into the year the worse the working capital negative is). But we have no dog in this hunt if you want us to comply with MLB's demand."
Then, a week before HSG sent out its press release announcing Greenberg and Nolan Ryan's Rangers Baseball Express won the right to exclusivity negotiate for team ownership, West wrote to a JPMorgan Chase attorney that "it is unlikely we can recommend that we proceed forward with Greenberg based on where we are with their proposal and assuming we can proceed forward with Crane. It is not clear to me that any additional amount of time is going to further narrow the gap between Greenberg and Crane."
The 60-page brief follows, as do several exhibits containing myriad e-mail exchanges, including an awfully interesting one in mid-January from Crane to MLB's president and chief operating officer, Bob DuPuy. Richard Sandomir's New York Times recap can be found here, for those who get tired head from too many e-mails already. And Sports Business Journal is reporting today that if Ryan and Greenberg don't get the team, they could get $10 million.