Rangers sale developments.

The
Rangers and the Greenberg Ryan Group have announced a plan to complete the sale
of the franchise, by way of a “prepackaged” Chapter 11 bankruptcy plan that
would permit the club to maintain normal baseball and business
operations.  Under the plan, the sale would be completed by “mid-summer.”

 

I
haven’t tried to analyze this situation in this space and won’t begin to
now.  Here’s the substance of the team’s press release, issued minutes
ago:

 

===============================

 

Arlington,
TX, May 24, 2010
-Texas
Rangers Baseball Partners, the current owners of the Texas Rangers Baseball
Club, and Rangers Baseball Express, the local investor group led by team
president Nolan Ryan and Chuck Greenberg, today announced a plan to facilitate
completion of the previously announced sale of the Club to the Greenberg-Ryan
group.  The sale of the Club and its lease of the Rangers Ballpark in
Arlington, together with the separate sale of the land around the Ballpark,
have an aggregate transaction value of approximately $575 million.

 

The
Rangers sale will be accomplished through a voluntary, “prepackaged,”
court-supervised process under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code pursuant
to a plan previously negotiated and agreed to by the current Rangers owners and
the Greenberg-Ryan group.  The prepackaged plan, which is supported by
Major League Baseball, current Rangers ownership, and the Greenberg-Ryan group,
provides sufficient sale proceeds for the Rangers creditors to recover 100
percent of the portion of HSG Sports Group’s debt that is guaranteed by the
Rangers and for all Rangers creditors to be paid in full.

 

Texas
Rangers Baseball Partners has requested that a hearing be held in 45 days to
confirm the proposed sale and plan of reorganization.  The sale is
expected to be completed by mid-summer, subject to court approval, which will
then allow the franchise to exit the Chapter 11 process. 

 

“This
plan to complete the sale of the Texas Rangers serves the best interests of the
team, its fans, MLB and all other parties involved,” said Baseball Commissioner
Allan H. (Bud) Selig.  “This agreement assures an orderly process to
expeditiously transfer Rangers ownership to the Greenberg-Ryan group, and it
protects the franchise’s baseball operations.  Rangers fans can have
confidence that their team has the resources it needs to compete. 
Clearly, this could not and would not have happened without Tom Hicks’
leadership and hard work over a long period of time.”

 

This
process and sale are expected to have no impact on Rangers baseball
operations.  While the sale is being completed, the current owners will
continue to have control of the Club.  Motions have been filed with the
court in order that:

 

?          
The Rangers will be able to operate within their existing budget to sign and
acquire amateur, international and professional players

?          
Ticket prices remain the same and purchased tickets will continue to be honored

?          
The fan experience at Rangers Ballpark will be unchanged, with all current
amenities and promotions continuing as usual

?          
All salaries will be paid

?          
Rangers vendors and suppliers will be paid in full

 

“Since
1998, our family has taken great pride and joy in our association with the
Rangers,” said Tom Hicks, who will be Chairman Emeritus of the Rangers. 
“We are proud to play an active role in resolving the deadlock in this complex
sale process.  Rangers fans deserve management’s full focus on baseball
operations, and Nolan, Chuck and their colleagues will be outstanding stewards
of the Rangers.  We stand ready to support them in every way possible, and
as huge fans we will continue to cheer the Rangers on to the ultimate goal of a
World Series championship.”

 

“Our
goal is to move forward with our plan to create a long-term record of success
and championships,” said Nolan Ryan, who will continue to serve as Rangers
president.  “We will achieve that by being active in the player
acquisition market as well as our ongoing commitment to develop players through
one of the league’s best farm systems.” 

 

“We
are pleased to take this important step towards completion of our transaction,”
said Chuck Greenberg.  “Tom Hicks has laid the groundwork for this sale in
a manner that best addresses the interests of the Texas Rangers as well as all
parties that have a stake in the team.  His agreement to sell the land
around the Ballpark  in order to facilitate the sale of the Rangers is
just one example of how he has been instrumental in achieving a result that is
best for the franchise and its fans.  For our group, the focus will be on
rewarding Rangers fans with great performance on the field and memorable
experiences in the stands and in the community.”

 

“Nolan
Ryan has a proven track record with MLB club owners and I am prepared to submit
this to the owners promptly for their approval,” said Selig.  “Chuck
Greenberg and this group of local investors are dedicated to building the
franchise’s value and continuing the team’s contributions to the Dallas-Fort
Worth community.”

 

MLB
has agreed to provide the Rangers with a new credit facility to ensure that the
Club continues to meet all of its obligations while the sale is being
completed.

 

In
a separate transaction, Ballpark Real Estate, L.P., an independent investment
vehicle controlled by Tom Hicks, whose family also controls HSG Sports Group
and its subsidiary Texas Rangers Baseball Partners, entered into an agreement
to sell or transfer to the Greenberg-Ryan group approximately 153 of the 195
acres around the Ballpark and Cowboys Stadium that is owned or controlled by
Ballpark Real Estate or the Hicks family.  Rangers Baseball Express
required this land as a condition to its willingness to purchase the Texas
Rangers.  In return for the transferred land, Ballpark Real Estate will
receive cash, notes, and an ownership position in Rangers Baseball
Express. 

 

HSG
Sports Group and its other primary asset, the Dallas Stars hockey team, are not
included in the filing.

 

The
filing took place in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of
Texas in Fort Worth.  The Rangers filed customary “First Day Motions” with
the Court, which are intended to ensure that the process is seamless and has no
adverse impact on the Club’s operations, employees and suppliers.

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