Former Florida governor and Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush has dropped out of the bidding for the Marlins franchise, according to a report from Steven Wine of the Associated Press. Yankees legend Derek Jeter, who had been working with Bush to put together an ownership group, is now said to be attempting to continue his pursuit with other investors.
It appears that the main alternative group of would-be owners, led by Tagg Romney and also including Hall-of-Famer Tom Glavine and recent DBacks GM Dave Stewart, is still trying to land the team from current owner Jeffrey Loria. That group remains distinct from Jeter’s.
Jeter’s ongoing pursuit will seemingly now be based upon quite a different structure. Bush was not only taking the lead in trying to line up investors, but had been poised to function as the control person with regard to Major League Baseball. However, as Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reports (links to Twitter), he was committing to invest less than $20MM in the arrangement, which increasingly was seen as a concern. Instead, Jeter will now function as the proposed control person.
Though the news regarding Bush seemingly changes the picture, then, it still leaves two primary groups angling to land the Fish. As Jackson further tweets, the current ownership group still see those two main groups as the “most viable bidders” for the ballclub.
Questions remain as to just how quickly a deal will come together, though recent reporting from Jackson suggested that the sale could be agreed upon within weeks. The price tag is also now largely uncertain; both of the leading groups were said to be in the $1.3B range — at least for a franchise valuation before assessing debt — but it’s not clear whether any committing offers have been made at that level or whether a deeper look at the financials might result in downward movement of the ultimate price.