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Derek Jeter, Jeb Bush join forces in bid to buy Miami Marlins, reports say

Once rivals, Derek Jeter and Jeb Bush have teamed up in an attempt to purchase the Miami Marlins, according to multiple reports.

The former New York Yankees captain and former Florida governor and GOP presidential candidate were the prominent names to emerge earlier this month among multiple groups vying to buy the franchise from Jeffrey Loria. The two are now a high-profile double-play combination, merging their efforts, the Miami Herald and Associated Press reported Wednesday, citing anonymous sources familiar with the situation.

The Marlins declined comment on the reports. Marlins president David Samson said last week that negotiations are progressing with multiple groups interested in the team.

He declined to identify the principal players in the current bidding because “everyone wants to finish first and no one wants their names involved if they’re not finishing first.”

Bloomberg.com identified Wayne P. Rothbaum, founder of Quogue Capital, as the primary competitor to the Jeter-Bush group. According to the website, bids for the Marlins were due last week and came in between $1.2 billion and $1.3 billion.

Loria purchased the team for $158 million in 2002. Forbes recently placed the value of the Marlins at $940 million, ranked 25th among teams in Major League Baseball.

Samson took issue with that report, saying that Forbes did not have access to the team’s financial numbers to form the basis of a valuation.

Rothbaum, 49, is a New York based venture capitalist whose Quogue Capital invests in the pharmaceutical industry. He has an address listed in Delray Beach.

Bush’s interest in owning the Marlins predated his unsuccessful run for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination. He lives in Coral Gables.

Jeter, the long-time Yankees shortstop who helped spearhead five World Series championships, has made his interest in team ownership known since retiring as a player in 2014. Jeter has a home in Tampa.

A source with knowledge of the situation confirmed to the Sun Sentinel earlier this month that Major League Baseball is aware of the interest from Jeter and Bush.

MLB thoroughly vets each potential purchaser as well as the proposed structure of any transaction, said Matt Bourne, MLB’s vice president of business public relations. No sale agreement can be executed without MLB signing off.

In a news conference prior to the Marlins’ home opener on April 11, Samson said negotiations to sell the team were farther along than any previous discussions have gotten with interested buyers, and characterized progress as “in the fourth inning.”

He said Loria has been more receptive to overtures than in the past. The Marlins owner was named in February as a candidate to serve as President Donald Trump’s ambassador to France.

Rothbaum, who began a Wall Street career in 1993, founded Quogue Capital in 2002. In 2008, he and his firm agreed to pay $1.3 million to settle allegations by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that they had violated a ban on selling equities short during a blackout period prior to an initial public offering. Rothbaum and Quogue neither admitted nor denied the charges, the SEC said.

In 2016, Rothbaum joined the board of directors of Lion Biotechnologies, a company developing novel cancer therapies.

cldavis@sun-sentinel.com; Twitter @CraigDavisRuns; here on Facebook

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