The Marlins are “moving forward” in negotiations with the would-be ownership group headlined by Derek Jeter and Jeb Bush, according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald (links to Twitter). The organization is said to be “optimistic” that a deal will be reached to transfer control from current owner Jeffrey Loria to Bush, who’d be the new control person, and the four other members of the group. It’s said to be an “agreement in principle” that sets a $1.3B purchase price.
This report follows some conflicting signals sent throughout the day. Earlier, a report suggested that the Jeter/Bush group was the only possible bidder left due to a lack of interest. But even that group was said not to have submitted a firm offer, with financing still in the works. Marlins president David Samson flatly rejected this report, saying it was strewn with errors but declining to specify or correct them.
Later, Scott Soshnick of Bloomberg reported that the Jeter/Bush group had “won the auction” for the organization — which presents quite a different picture of the entire process. In addition to framing it as an “auction” for the first time, this report says that there were multiple other bidding groups, including one headed by businessman Wayne Rothbaum and another led by Tagg Romney (which included Hall-of-Fame hurler Tom Glavine). When asked to respond, Samson stated that he would not offer any comment, as Tim Healey of the Sun-Sentinel tweets.
Notably, none of the reports suggest that any paperwork has been signed. It’s important to bear in mind, too, that even in the event that a preliminary agreement is struck, it would still be subject to a lengthy finalization process — between the parties and also involving authorization from Major League Baseball.