No need to ask Lisa LeMaster for any further comment this time around -- the press release below, just sent out by Texas Rangers spokesman John Blake, is all we're going to get about the consummation of the "complex business deal" that's one step closer to putting Tom Hicks's ball club in the mitts of Pittsburgh attorney Chuck Greenberg and Nolan Ryan, now known as the Rangers Baseball Express.
According to tonight's announcement, the waiting's over and the deal's done -- all except for that part about Major League Baseball signing off. And there are those pesky lenders who have to give the okee-doke. And there are further questions concerning financing that need to be answered.
But other than that -- done deal! Right, Mr. Hicks? "Together, we have worked exhaustively since last month to attain this agreement. It's a complex business deal that positions the franchise positively for the future."
This, per the press release that follows, is that they mean by "complex": Greenberg and Ryan not only get the team, but 153 of the 195 acres around the Ballpark in Arlington and Cowboys Stadium owned by Hicks's Ballpark Real Estate, L.P. In exchange, Hicks "will receive cash, notes, and an ownership position in the team ... as Chairman Emeritus."
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Definitive agreement reached to sell Texas Rangers
Transaction still needs approval by MLB, lenders and is subject to financing
(Dallas, TX, January 23, 2010) - Hicks Sports Group LLC announced today that it has reached a definitive agreement to sell the Texas Rangers franchise to Rangers Baseball Express LLC, an investment group headed by Pittsburgh attorney Chuck Greenberg and Nolan Ryan, the legendary pitcher who now serves as president of Texas Rangers Baseball Partners. The agreement represents completion of the second major step to sell the team. It is still subject to approval by Major League Baseball and certain lending institutions, as well as completion of financing.
"Together, we have worked exhaustively since last month to attain this agreement," said Tom Hicks whose family controls Hicks Sports Group. "It's a complex business deal that positions the franchise positively for the future."
In a separate transaction, Ballpark Real Estate, L.P., an independent investment vehicle controlled by Hicks, entered into an agreement to sell or transfer to the Greenberg-Ryan group approximately 153 of the 195 acres around the Ballpark and Cowboys Stadium that is owned or controlled by Ballpark Real Estate or the Hicks family. In return for the transferred land, Ballpark Real Estate will receive cash, notes, and an ownership position in the team.
Greenberg will serve as the Managing Partner and CEO of Rangers Baseball Express while Ryan will continue in his role as President. Co-lead investments in Rangers Baseball Express will be made by Ray Davis of Dallas and the family of Bob and Janice Simpson of Ft. Worth. Ray Davis and Bob Simpson will serve as Co-Chairmen of the Board of Rangers Baseball Express. Greenberg has asked Hicks to continue his association with the Club as Chairman Emeritus.
"Nolan and I greatly appreciate Tom Hicks' willingness to work beyond the deadline to complete the deal and his support for passing the torch from the Hicks family to our group," said Greenberg. "His actions speak eloquently to his commitment to serve the best interests of Rangers fans and the community."
"We are fortunate to be assuming the stewardship of a franchise poised for greatness," Greenberg added. "The tremendous foundation of talent that has been assembled on both the major and minor league levels, combined with our passionate commitment to achieve excellence in every facet of the organization's operation, and the pent-up thirst for success we observe from our fans every day, creates the opportunity for the Rangers to become one of the great franchises in baseball."
Hicks and Greenberg both expressed their appreciation for the efforts of MLB, particularly the Commissioner of Baseball, Bud Selig, for facilitating this stage of the transaction. Because the transaction is still subject to MLB approval and other matters, specific terms were not announced. The deal could be completed by April.
"In the short-term," said Hicks, "Chuck, Nolan and I will focus our attention not only on the transaction but on making sure the Club operates in a business-as-usual manner. Pitchers and catchers report in just 26 days."
"The efforts of the last few years are evident in the very positive direction in which the Rangers are heading," said Ryan. "We look forward to continuing that work for the 2010 season and beyond. I am excited to have the opportunity to be a part of this organization as we go forward."
Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Raine Advisors and Perrella Weinberg Partners LP served as financial advisors, and Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP served as legal counsel, to Hicks Sports Group. McGuire, Craddock & Strother, P.C. served as real estate counsel and Cousins Properties Services LP served as a real estate consultant to Ballpark Real Estate.
For the buyers, Rangers Baseball Express, Evolution Media Capital and CAA Sports Media Venture served as financial advisors, and Foley & Lardner LLP and Sherrard, German & Kelly, P.C. served as legal counsel. Leib Advisors served as the tax and accounting advisors to the buyer.
Editors note: No additional information or interviews will be available at this time.