Just when it seemed all the momentum was lining up toward a sale of the Marlins to a group led by Derek Jeter and Jeb Bush, things have taken another turn. The alternative bidding group, led by Tagg Romney and also including Tom Glavine, has upped its offer to exceed the $1.3B sale valuation offered by the Jeter/Bush team, according to Dave Hyde of the Sun Sentinel.
Confirming the general situation, commissioner Rob Manfred told the Sun Sentinel that there are “two very strong groups” still in play. While he obviously did not tip his hand in any way, it’s certainly possible the league’s preferences could tip the scales here. Importantly, at present, we know nothing about the deep-pocketed, background investors who’d participate in either ownership group.
To be sure, the competing offers could shift the calculus for Loria and the league, though it seems they aren’t drastically different. While the new price would beat the $1.3B offer of Jeter and Bush, sources tell Barry Jackson and Douglas Hanks of the Miami Herald that it is still shy of $1.4B. With both the league and the team looking over the competing bids, a decision is said to be likely to come soon.
The report also provides some details on the earlier agreement struck between Loria and the Jeter/Bush group, which some characterized as a sale agreement but really falls well shy of that. In fact, it’s just a “handshake deal” that was to allow that group “first opportunity” to get the club if financing was found and a deal was signed quickly. But it did not provide exclusivity, per the report; whether it was an agreement that bound the parties in any manner at all isn’t even clear.
Since there’s still no sale agreement in place — and, according to the Herald, the financing has still yet to be proven — it’s all still an open situation. Indeed, Jeter and Bush are now said to be working to bring in Wayne Rothbaum — who had previously led a third bidding effort — to infuse cash needed for their efforts, per Scott Soshnick of Bloomberg (via Twitter).