The Marlins’ attempts to complete a sale in the next couple of weeks received a significant setback in recent days, with the Wayne Rothbaum/Tagg Romney group dropping out of the bidding and Derek Jeter’s group losing a billionaire investor, according to a report Thursday on the New York Post’s web site.
Meanwhile, Miami businessman Jorge Mas remains interested in buying the team but has not yet made a formal bid and values the team at less than owner Jeffrey Loria’s $1.2 billion asking price, a person close to Mas said by phone this week.
Loria recently rejected a $1.1 billion bid from the Rothbaum group, the Miami Herald reported last week. Loria originally asked for $1.3 billion but is now willing to accept $1.2 billion, according to a source briefed on negotiations.
But Rothbaum ultimately was unwilling to raise his offer, despite the Marlins encouraging him to do so. The Marlins had been under the impression that negotiations would continue.
Two people who have had involvement with the Rothbaum group said Thursday afternoon that they had not been informed that Rothbaum and Romney had dropped their pursuit of the team. The Marlins declined to comment.
Meanwhile, Jeter lost a key member of his investment group, Chicago billionaire Richard Chaifetz, according to The Post report.
Chaifetz was uncomfortable with Jeter seeking control while not investing much money in the team, The Post said.
One associate of Jeb Bush said Bush and Jeter parted ways in May partly because Bush also was uncomfortable with Jeter’s demand to run the team’s business side, as well as the baseball side.
Bush subsequently joined the Rothbaum/Romney group.
The Post reported a second billionaire member of Jeter’s group, Bruce Sherman, is “picking up some of the slack to steady the future Hall of Famer’s bid.”
Sherman, 69, is a co-founder of Legg Mason’s money management firm Private Capital Management, which he sold to them for $1.3 billion.
Doug Kimmelman (a former Golden Sachs executive) and John Troiano are among other investors in Jeter’s group, according to the Post. So is investment banker Gregory Fleming, who has helped Jeter in putting together in group.
Chaifetz, an entrepreneur, previously made bids for the NBA’s Bucks and Hawks and the NFL’s Rams before they moved from St. Louis to Los Angeles.
Marlins president David Samson told USA Today this week that the team will be sold. The Marlins privately have said that for several months.
MLB hoped the deal would be in place by next week’s All-Star Game, but that now appears highly unlikely.