As we outlined in last week's paper version of Unfair Park, the lenders owed approximately $600 million from the default of HSG Sports Group's loans tied to the Texas Rangers and Dallas Stars had been pissed that around $75 million of the pre-auction bid by the Greenberg-Ryan group would have found its way into the pockets of Tom Hicks. The sale of 154 acres of land surrounding the Ballpark in Arlington would have yielded Hicks, among other compensation, 1 percent ownership in the team and title of chairman emeritus.
But just before yesterday's marathon auction, Hicks and Greenberg-Ryan agreed to terminate the sale, which had been tied to their purchase of the Rangers, in a "good faith effort" to level the playing field at the auction.
The total bid before the auction from Greenberg-Ryan appears to have been $589.7 million ($306.7 million in cash, $208 million in assumed liabilities and $75 million for the land). Their winning bid was $593 million ($385 million cash and $208 million in assumed liabilities). That's only a difference of $3.3 million.
So what am I getting at? The creditors got exactly what they wanted -- more cash, to the tune of $78.3 million -- and Greenberg-Ryan barely increased their offer. The only loser here is Tom Hicks.
Turns out Mark Cuban wanted to make sure Hicks didn't get his $75 million either. Shortly after Cuban and bidding partner Jim Crane conceded the auction to Greenberg-Ryan, a source close to Cuban told me that while he had sincere interest in acquiring the team, a secondary motive to his bidding was to "get money away from third parties and put it toward the team -- the debtor."
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"That was one of [Cuban's] goals," he said.
Cuban praised Major League Baseball and Greenberg-Ryan early this morning, telling me, "They did a good job of fighting for what they wanted."
He wasn't bitter about losing, simply saying, "Shit happens."
[Update at 5 p.m.: A Friend of Unfair Park directs our attention to a posting on Cuban's Blog Maverick headlined "Chasing the Rangers." In it, Cuban writes: "So why did I go chasing the Rangers despite all the negative media attention? Because I believe it was the right thing to do." And then he explains why.]