Marlins confirm $1.2B deal to sell to Jeter group

Associated Press

MIAMI (August 12, 2017) — Miami Marlins president David Samson says a signed $1.2 billion agreement has been submitted to Major League Baseball to sell the franchise to a group that includes former New York Yankees captain Derek Jeter, and the team expects to close on the deal in early October.

The MLB ownership committee will review the transaction Wednesday at an owners’ meeting in Chicago, Samson said Saturday. He anticipates major league owners will approve the deal in September, and closing will take place shortly after the end of the regular season.

Jeter plans be a limited partner in the group led by venture capitalist Bruce Sherman, who will be the controlling owner. Jeter, a 14-time All-Star shortstop, will be in charge of the business and baseball operations, Samson said.

“I’ve gotten to know him through this process,” Samson said. “He’s an incredibly interesting, articulate, smart, contemplative individual. Forget about Hall of Famer, it’s not about that, it’s about his ability to run a team and his desire to run a team, and it just came through so clearly what he wanted.”

At least 75 percent of the major league clubs must approve the sale by Jeffrey Loria, who has owned the team since 2002. A person familiar with the agreement said Friday the Jeter-Sherman group includes more than 10 entities.

Sherman spent much of his financial career in New York and has a home in Naples, Florida.

Samson said he hasn’t discussed his own status with Sherman or Jeter, although there have been reports he’ll remain with the organization.

“I have been here since 2002,” Samson said. “I love it here. I would love to stay here. ... If Bruce Sherman and Derek Jeter would like me to serve, then it’s something I would certainly talk about.”

Loria’s decision to sell the team became public in February, and Jeter’s interest emerged in April. The Jeter-Sherman group beat out two other groups that pursued the team in the final weeks of negotiations.

“It is a process that has had a lot of twists and turns,” said Samson, speaking in the Marlins’ dugout during batting practice before their game against Colorado.

“We feel really good. It was very important from Jeffrey’s standpoint that there was an ownership group that had not just connections to Miami, but an understanding of what it means to be here in Miami and run a team like the Miami Marlins, and all the possibilities that come with being in a great city like ours.”

Many around baseball predicted success for the new regime.

“So Jeter’s going to run the Marlins, huh? Great choice,” Baltimore Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “Glad they’re not in our league.”

Loria, 76, has long been criticized for his frugal ways and for the public financing that helped build 5-year-old Marlins Park. The Marlins haven’t been to the postseason since 2003, and ranked last in the National League in attendance 11 of the past 12 years.

But Samson defended Loria, who has owned the team — now in its 25th season — longer than predecessors Wayne Huizenga or John Henry combined.

“I think time will show that through thick or thin, his commitment to Miami never wavered,” Samson said. “And it was hard to say that about previous owners.”

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