On Eve of Judge's Decision Concerning Rangers' Sale, a Debate Over the Consequences

Categories: Biz, Sports
Greenberg_Hicks_Ryan_Merten.jpg
Sam Merten
Chuck Greenberg, Tom Hicks and Nolan Ryan on the day the Rangers announced a prepackaged Chapter 11 plan
Tomorrow in a Fort Worth courtroom, should all go according to plan, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Michael Lynn will rule on whether Hicks Sports Group can move ahead with its sale of the first-place Texas Rangers to Chuck Greenberg and Nolan Ryan's Rangers Baseball Express. But this morning in a subscription-only Sports Business Journal story, Daniel Kaplan writes that the "acrimonious bankruptcy battle over the Texas Rangers" is already having repercussions throughout the baseball world -- such as, when the New York Mets' owners finished their refinancing in early June, Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz were forced "to put up more personal collateral than they wanted" because creditors don't want to have Major League Baseball writing off their debt.

MLB officials, creditors and analysts spend a majority of the piece back-and-forthing over whether baseball's interference in the sale will have long-term ramifications. MLB says no; everyone else, "Hell, yes."
Bob DuPuy, MLB's president and chief operating officer who has attended the Rangers' bankruptcy hearings in Texas, said of the Mets deal, "[I] do not agree [the] Rangers [are] having an impact on guarantees. Club and MLB lending relationships [are] constantly evolving based on experiential factors. Lenders and borrowers tailor their documents accordingly."

Neil Begley, a Moody's Investors Service entertainment analyst, disagreed.

"This is going to tarnish the image of being a lender to MLB," Begley said of the Rangers' bankruptcy case and MLB's position on it.
Update: Thanks to the Friend of Unfair Park who points out that the Dallas Business Journal posted the entirety of the piece, gratis, this morning.

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