xml:space="preserve">
xml:space="preserve">
Advertisement
Advertisement

Jeb Bush no longer pursuing purchase of Marlins

The potential sale of the Miami Marlins has taken a step back, with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush ending his pursuit to buy the team.

A source confirmed to the Sun Sentinel on Tuesday that Bush has withdrawn from a partnership with former New York Yankees captain Derek Jeter.

Advertisement

That would seem to leave a rival group headed by Tagg Romney, son of former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, as the front-runner in a bid to purchase the Marlins from Jeffrey Loria.

However, a person close to the negotiations told the Associated Press that Jeter is still exploring a bid with other investors and would become the frontman opposing Romney's group.

Advertisement

One of AP's sources said Bush didn't put up enough of his own money to have the controlling interest he sought. According to AP, Bush's departure from the negotiations was amicable, with one source noting: "Gov. Bush has great respect for Derek Jeter, and Derek remains a great friend. And he's looking forward to a great rest of the season for the Marlins."

Earlier this month, baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred confirmed that two groups had submitted relatively even bids in the price range Loria is seeking, reportedly about $1.3 billion.

Neither the Marlins nor Manfred would comment on reports of Bush's withdrawal. Tagg Romney has not publicly commented on his pursuit of the team with a group that includes Hall of Fame pitcher Tom Glavine.

Asked about it before Tuesday night's game against the Philadelphia Phillies, Marlins manager Don Mattingly said he hadn't yet heard the news that Bush was out of the bidding.

He said his players and staff need to remain focused on what's happening on the field.

"I think we just have to be ready to play baseball," said Mattingly, a former teammate and coach of Jeter's. "We have enough problems of our own putting good baseball together. Our focus needs to be right here taking care of business. All that stuff is out of [our] control."

Earlier this month, Bush said at a conference in Los Angeles that he was confident of completing the sale and went on to say that Jeter would run the Marlins' baseball operations.

The 64-year-old Bush — a two-term governor (1999-2007) who was unsuccessful in his bid last year for the Republican nomination for president — lives in Coral Gables.

The Bush-Jeter partnership had the support of Miami-Dade County officials, with Mayor Carlos Gimenez saying, "I believe this community is ready for new ownership of the Miami Marlins. Hopefully, if former Governor Bush and Derek Jeter get this franchise, I think it'll be a good thing for this city and this entire community."

However, in recent weeks there have been reports the group was having difficulty raising sufficient cash to complete the purchase. Jeter and Bush were expected to invest no more than $200 million combined, which means they would have to raise between $800 million and $900 million in cash to comply with guidelines specified by Manfred to avoid the team operating with a high level of debt.

"There needs to be a solidified financial structure presented to us that we're sure that we actually have a transaction that can move ahead," Manfred said at the time.

There have also been reports that Loria is motivated to sell the team due to the club being burdened by about $400 million in debt.

Advertisement

Loria, 76, purchased the Marlins for $158.5 million in 2002 from John Henry, who now owns the Boston Red Sox.

Staff writer Tim Healey contributed to this report.

Recommended on Baltimore Sun

Advertisement
Advertisement