The Derek Jeter group is working to finalize the deal for about $1.2 billion to buy the Miami Marlins, and the paperwork is being drawn up and could be completed as early as Friday night — though even an agreement won’t quite cement a transition in this drama that’s turned into a long-running soap opera.
Jeter has been the preferred candidate of Marlins ownership from the beginning, but two things turned the tide in his favor at the end: 1) His partner Bruce Sherman upped his contribution from about $300 million to about $400 million, and 2) Jeter finally relented on the issue of control, understanding in the end that someone such as himself who’s putting in $25 million can’t be the control person.
Of course, even if there are signatures soon, there may be a few chapters to go.
There is word that while Sherman is willing to up his bid, the group is still seeking investors possibly so he could reduce his outlay and/or firm up their finances. The big question all along has not been whether Jeter and Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria, who has preferred Jeter by all accounts, could agree; it is whether the Jeter group’s financing is solid.
There is also the matter of whether Sherman ultimately wants control.
It’s possible Sherman could become the listed control person, with Jeter taking an even more active role than his expected title of CEO would suggest. Or Sherman could find someone else to be the control guy. There are said to be about five or six main investors on their team, though Sherman could try to find someone else to take the lead role, if he so chooses.
It isn’t known if he might consider recruiting Jorge Mas, the well-respected Miami businessman, who looks to be the second-place finisher in this derby.
The Miami Herald first reported there was agreement.
Word is that Jeter has long been the favorite of not only Loria but also team president David Samson. While Samson has said that his own job was not to be part of the negotiations, Jeter has made it known that he’s willing to keep Samson on in a role. There is said to be a little over a year left on Samson’s contract.
Team president and general manager Michael Hill is expected to be asked to stay on, though other groups would have likely kept him, too.
One thing someone connected to the Jeter group has suggested will likely go: the home run sculpture in left-center field that was designed by artist Red Grooms and has been the subject of controversy.
It should also be noted that, because of the timing of the agreement, there will not be enough time for the other 29 MLB owners to approve any deal at next week’s owners meeting, though that hurdle does eventually need to be cleared.