Barry Jackson

Mystery third bidder for Miami Marlins identified

Jorge Mas is shown in a 2015 file photo.
Jorge Mas is shown in a 2015 file photo. MIAMI HERALD STAFF

Jorge Mas, a prominent South Florida businessman and philanthropist, has emerged as the mystery third bidder to purchase the Miami Marlins, two industry sources told the Miami Herald.

Mas is the Chairman of the Board and Co-Founder of MasTec, which according to its web site, is "a part of some of the largest and most complex infrastructure construction across the country." 

Mas also is Chairman of the Board of the Cuban American National Foundation, an organization founded in 1981 dedicated to the promotion of a free and democratic Cuba.

Mas joins groups led by former New York Yankees star Derek Jeter and Tagg Romney as known suitors for the Marlins. The team is expected to be sold, Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred has said.

Jeter and his banker/business partner Greg Fleming, met with Manfred and Marlins president David Samson in New York on Wednesday, and Jeter is believed to be well short of Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria’s $1.3 billion asking price. Jeter reportedly would contribute $25 million of his own money toward a deal but has been seeking investors to cover the rest.

Romney also apparently doesn’t have all the finances to meet Loria’s demands. He met with MLB officials this week, according to FanRagSports. But Marlins executives were not involved in those meetings.

According to a source, Mas is willing to contribute at least $200 million, potentially much more, and has been seeking investors to solidify his bid. It is unclear if he is willing to meet the $1.3 billion asking price.

MLB allows no more than 40 percent of a purchase to be financed by debt and also is adamant that any new owner must have sufficient resources to operate the team after buying it.

The Marlins are expected to lose more than $60 million this year, and Loria – who has borrowed considerable capital to fund losses – is eager to sell the team, according to multiple sources.

The Marlins’ low revenues are one reason why completing a sale has been so difficult.

Marlins president David Samson talks about the discussions regarding the potential sale of the franchise before Tuesday's home opener against the Braves.

The Marlins receive only about $20 million annually from their local TV deal, the lowest in baseball. They’re also 28th among 30 teams in attendance, averaging 20,606 tickets paid per game. And their $115 million payroll is their largest in franchise history.

"There is an amazing amount of interest actually," Manfred told Craig Mish and Jim Bowden in a June 13 interview on Sirius XM Radio. "People kind of focused on the Jeter group and Romney group. There are other interested buyers out there. There is by no means just those two. They are the furthest along. They’ve made robust offers, both of them. I remain of the view that one of them is probably the most likely to end up as the new owner of the team. Even if it’s not one of those two, I am convinced the Marlins are going to sell."

Beyond serving as chairman of MasTac and CANF, Mas is the managing partner of a private equity group with investments in the fields of aviation, banking, commercial real estate, healthcare, and fixed income trading market makers.

Mas also serves on the Board of Overseers of the University of Miami School of Business and, according to his Wikipedia page, "has been active in lectures and presentations to students across the country about self-empowerment and the challenges and opportunities awaiting them in the global marketplace."

Latino Leaders Magazine has recognized Mas as one of the 100 most influential Hispanics in the United States. He has received multiple awards, including the Bravura Award for his defense of free sppech and the Simon Wiesenthal Center National Community Service Award for his contribution toward freedom.

Miami Marlins coach Don Mattingly gives his thoughts about Derek Jeter, who is reportedly interested in buying the Marlins, being a MLB franchise owner before the Marlins game Wednesday, April 5, 2017, in Washington.

Mas graduated from the University of Miami with a bachelor's and master’s degrees in business administration.

Mas is one of three sons of Jorge Mas Canosa, a Cuban-American immigrant who founded the Cuban-American National Foundation and MasTec. Mas Canosa died in 1997 from lung cancer.

Mas did not return a phone message that was delivered to him through his publicist.

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