Former New York Yankees star Derek Jeter and Miami businessman Jorge Mas have made progress in assembling the financing needed to buy the Marlins, but the Wayne Rothbaum/Jeb Bush group has quietly exited the race, multiple industry sources told the Miami Herald over the past three days.
The reason for Rothbaum’s decision to stop his pursuit of the team was not immediately clear, but an associate indicated he grew impatient with the process after bidding $1.17 billion for the team.
His remaining investors - including Bush and Shoney’s CEO David Davidpour - could not go on without him because Rothbaum was the primary money man. Another of their partners, Massachusetts businessman Tagg Romney, previously left their group.
Rothbaum, a billionaire with homes in New York and Delray Beach, declined to comment.
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His departure leaves Jeter and Mas as the only remaining bidders for the Marlins.
Jeter added investors to his group in recent days and the Marlins are optimistic about his chances of having the funding necessary to buy the team, though two sources insisted he was still looking for money this week.
Meanwhile, Mas has made progress in his attempts to put together an investment group but it’s unclear if he would be willing to outbid Jeter or meet the $1.2 billion asking price.
Major League Baseball owners meet in Chicago next week, but it’s not yet clear if the Marlins will have a deal in place that’s ready to be voted on by other owners.
A source in the Rothbaum group has said that their perception for months if that owner Jeffrey Loria preferred to sell the team to Jeter, but whether Jeter has the money has been the question for months, with investors joining and leaving his group.
A member of the Rothbaum group said he was told Jeter is the clear favorite over Mas and that Jeter was closing in on getting the money he needs to buy the team but was not there yet as of Wednesday morning.
Jeter reportedly is investing just $25 million of his own money.