The Rangers‘ plan and sale to the Greenberg-Ryan group had been in jeopardy since shortly after the team’s bankruptcy filing in May. Angry creditors successfully argued to reopen the bidding although the Greenberg-Ryan group was chosen as the team’s owner in January after the original sale process.
Had the plan had been rejected, the team would have remained in bankruptcy court and the Greenberg-Ryan group _ long endorsed by Major League Baseball _ would have lost its chance to purchase the team, since its funding guarantee expired Thursday.
But after nearly three months of arguing attorneys, surprise lawsuits and even two-last minute attempts by Greenberg-Ryan to stop the auction, the group ended up with a winning bid that was about $100 million more than its opening offer.
“It was a long and difficult and frequently frustrating process, but we never wavered for a moment in our belief that it was worth every minute of it,” Greenberg said. “We’re so pleased right now. We’re looking forward to a great future with our fans and we think that great days are ahead.”
Rangers attorneys say all disputes with lenders and others have been resolved, including an objection filed by Alex Rodriguez over concerns that he and other former players may not get the millions that the Rangers owe them. The Greenberg-Ryan group’s winning bid includes paying more than $200 million to unsecured creditors _ including A-Rod, who is owed $24.9 million in deferred compensation six years after his trade to the New York Yankees.
Creditors will receive $75 million from the team in the bankruptcy plan, but the judge has said they can sue other entities of Hicks Sports Group, which defaulted on about $525 million in loans last year. Hicks is co-owner of the Liverpool football club, which is for sale, but the London sports team is not part of Hicks Sports Group and is safe from creditors in the Rangers‘ bankruptcy case.
“Obviously, this is a bittersweet moment for our family because these past twelve years with the Texas Rangers have produced a remarkable experience for all of us,” Hicks said in a statement. “I sincerely think the two major turning points for this franchise involved naming Jon Daniels general manager and Nolan Ryan becoming club president.”
Hicks will not be part of the new organization.
“It’s just awesome that the franchise is headed in the right direction,” outfielder David Murphy said. “We’ve got an ownership group that really cares about us. … This is a group that really seems like they really care and they’re going to do whatever it takes to make this team an annual winner.”
AP Sports Writer Stephen Hawkins in Arlington, Texas, contributed to this report.
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