Sam Merten

After Driving Up Price of Rangers at Auction, Cuban and Crane Want a Few Mil Back

For a long while during

the auction of Your Texas Rangers on August 4

-- and into the wee small hours of August 5 -- it looked as though Mark Cuban and Jim Crane's Radical Pitch LLC might indeed take possession of the team. Every time Chuck Greenberg and Nolan Ryan's Rangers Baseball Express submitted a bid, Cuban and Crane upped it and then some.

Greenberg would later acknowledge his frustration

with the situation, and

as Ryan tells The New York Times Sunday Magazine today

, "Once Cuban came in, I didn't think we'd get it done." But get it done they did with a $593-million winning bid, with $385 million of that in cash money.

Now, Cuban and Crane want some of their money back -- the "fees, costs, and expenses incurred in making a substantial contribution to the bankruptcy case of Texas Rangers Baseball Partners." That's according to a fascinating, enlightening court document filed Thursday afternoon, which I found while doing a routine check of the Texas Rangers Baseball Partners Info Site set up during the Chapter 11 proceedings. (The thing's still good for occasional gold, like that New York Times legal fight over closed-door proceedings.)

The filing details how Crane came to be involved in the bidding process (the lenders, wanting the most bang for their buck, asked him to jump back in), how much of Hicks Sports Group's second-lien debt Cuban bought up prior to the bankruptcy filing ($5 million worth) and how the two joined forces ("due to the exigencies of the expedited and contentious sale process," including the "risk" that Major League Baseball would reject "any competing bidder"). Far as Crane and Cuban are concerned, they did the lenders a favor by joining in the auction:

Not only did the Applicants [Radical Pitch] participate in the auction on August 4-5, 2010, but their efforts, and the efforts of their prospective professionals, made the Auction itself possible. In fact, the Applicants, notwithstanding external pressures to forego the Auction entirely, worked diligently within a compressed timeframe to formulate and submit a highly competitive bid by the bid deadline established by the Court. Without that competing bid, the Auction process would have failed. Only through the intervention and involvement of the Applicants and their respective professionals did the Auction continue, with the results thereof substantially benefiting the estates and creditors.

Far as they're concerned, they upped the price of the winning bid by $110 million. Cuban wants $1.121 million from the Rangers -- which is to say, the chunk they're doling out to the lenders -- for paying accountants and attorneys during the auction process; Crane, $1.527 million, a big chuck of which dates back to his original bid in February.

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