We have heard some conflicting reports recently about just how likely it is that a Derek Jeter and Jeb Bush-led investment group will complete a purchase of the Marlins, but the latest signs point toward a deal. Most notably, the funding for the buyer’s group is now all lined up, according to Daniel Kaplan of the Sports Business Journal (via Twitter).
If the financials are indeed in order, that would represent quite a significant step. Last we heard, Jeter and Bush were looking for additional investors to join their team, but it seems that’ll no longer be an issue. Citibank is advising the would-be owners, Kaplan notes, and presumably will be involved in any financing that’s needed.
There’s also an important note on the reported $1.3B purchase price, which seems more accurately described as a valuation for purposes of the deal. Per Kaplan, that’ll be offset by the organization’s current debt and anticipated operating losses. Joel Sherman of the New York Post had previously noted that possibility while breaking down the significant numbers involved.
Such adjustments will also take a bite out of the share of the sale proceeds that Miami and Miami-Dade County could stand to earn, as Douglas Hanks of the Miami Herald writes. So long as the deal closes by April of next year, five percent of the profits would be sent over to those municipalities — a clause in the deal in which the Marlins obtained massive public financial support for the construction of Marlins Park. But debt, closing costs, and taxes will all first be deducted, and the sale price will also be offset by the agreement’s valuation of the organization (per Hanks, that figures to stand at around $500MM). In other words, while it could still be a significant amount, there are some limits to how much the taxpayers can recoup.
Bush, meanwhile, had some very notable comments of his own, as Tim Healey of the Sun-Sentinel reports. Speaking for the first time, the former Florida governor — who’d be the official control person of the organization — discussed the groups vision. Most interestingly, perhaps, he suggested that Jeter might actually take over the baseball operations department, though certainly the details of just how that would work remain to be seen. Generally, he expressed an interest in “patiently” building a roster — no word yet on what that might mean at the outset of a new ownership — while pushing to take advantage of the Miami organization’s proximity to Latin America.