Only days before the beginning of baseball season, Tom Hicks is, apparently, already down a strike: Something called FINAlternatives, which serves up hedge fund and private equity news, reports this morning that Hicks Sports Group -- the holding company for all of Hicks's sports-related ventures, including the Texas Rangers and Dallas Stars -- defaulted on $525 million in loans on Monday. Caveat: The story comes from a single unnamed source, and HSG reps have yet to comment. As in:
According to the source, who has seen documents relating to the loans, Hicks defaulted on a $350 million bank term loan, $100 million second-lien loan and a $75 million revolving credit facility. A spokesman for Hicks Sports declined to comment.
Hicks also owns a 50% stake in the English Premier League's Liverpool Football Club, but through a separate entity. According to the source, the loans are partially secured by the Rangers and Stars, but not by Hicks' stake in Liverpool or his personal assets.
Unfair Park this morning left a message on HSG Chief Operating Officer Casey Coffman's voicemail. Representatives at The LeMaster Group, which handles Hicks's PR, said they are aware of the report and said they will provide Unfair Park with an official statement shortly; we will update accordingly.
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Update at 10:27 a.m.: LeMaster Group's still cooking up a statement. But clearly it pays to be the longtime Rangers beat writer, as Evan Grant has an interview with Hicks in which he explains the situation involving an interest payment HSG declined to pay on March 31 while Hicks renegotiates terms with some 40 lenders:
"We're optimistic that a satisfactory resolution will come together in the next couple of weeks with our lenders' cooperation," Hicks said by phone Friday morning. "The important thing is that none of this impacts either team or the fan experience at either venue. We're prepared to fund the operations of both clubs for the next 12 months while we continue to seek additional investors."
Should the banks holding 51 percent of the loans nix a new deal, the loans could go into default as early as next week.
In addition to the Rangers and Stars, HSG is also the holding company for Liverpool FC, the American Airlines Center, Hicks Sports Marketing Group and the Mesquite Rodeo. Only days ago, Hicks acknowledged that he was indeed looking to sell off pieces of the Rangers and Stars -- anywhere from 40 to 49 percent of his ownership stake. Said Hicks last week, "I've been quietly looking for minority investors to come back into the ownership of the Rangers as a way to be prudent in a bad economy."