Greenberg: Rangers sale 'going smoothly'
Prospective new owner says April 1 transfer on track
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Wearing red Rangers jackets, prospective owner Chuck Greenberg and Ray Davis, one of his key investors, visited camp Wednesday to see the club and reiterate their message that the transfer of the team from Hicks Sports Group to their ownership group is on track to be finalized by the beginning of next month."Everything is going smoothly," Greenberg said. "It's obviously a very complicated transaction. In any deal of any size there are always complexities and matters that have to be solved right up to the moment of being done. So far, nothing remarkable has happened or failed to happen." Greenberg's target date for completing the sale remains April 1 but he said the closing could come at a later date. He added that any delay in the completion of the deal should not be seen as a cause for alarm. "The closing day of any deal is always somewhat uncertain because you can't legislate when exactly all of the pieces are going to fall into place, and all you can do is to keep pushing along a timetable that allows you to achieve your objective," Greenberg said. "And so far everything is moving along that timetable. Is everything done today where we can close tomorrow? No. But is everything moving on a pace that needs to be in order to close on April 1? Yes." This week, Sport Business Journal reported that the sale of the Rangers was stalled after Major League Baseball informed the team's creditors about delays in responding to the lenders' concerns regarding the deal. Greenberg responded to that report Wednesday. "What's interesting is it said that the sale is delayed again, which suggests that it has already been delayed once and that just hasn't happened," he said. "I think there are some folks out there that have a little bit of self-interest in portraying gloom and doom, none of whom are principals in the deal, by the way.
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"We think we will get there [by April 1]. If for some reason we don't, it doesn't mean there are problems," he continued. "It just means that sometimes deals take longer than you originally anticipate. But it's no reason for alarm on anyone's part and we're expecting to close on April 1."Major League Baseball has ultimate approval on the sale of a franchise, and the Commissioner's Office has given full support to the Greenberg group. MLB officials and lawyers are currently reviewing all aspects of the sale as part of the approval process. The sale will be final when it is approved by at least 75 percent of the other 29 Major League teams. That could be done either at one of the quarterly Owners Meetings or by conference call. Once the sale is approved, Greenberg will take over as managing general partner and Nolan Ryan will remain as club president. Tom Hicks will remain as only a minority investor with a small stake in the club. The lead investors are Davis, a Dallas businessman, and Bob Simpson of Fort Worth, Texas, who is chairman of XTO Energy. They will be co-chairmen of the board for Rangers Baseball Express. The Rangers are scheduled to open the season on April 5 against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. The one-day trip to Arizona marked Greenberg's first foray into the Cactus League after 10 Spring Trainings in Florida, as the owner of Minor League teams. He said he looks forward to spending more time with the Rangers in Surprise in the future and has spoken with Ryan every day this spring. Greenberg added that he follows Rangers games online from Dallas. "I love the Rangers. I'm totally emotionally invested even if I'm not yet financially invested," he said. "You don't get into this unless you truly love the game, and I do, and so everything that happens out here I'm passionate about, I'm interested in it." In a lighter moment, Greenberg was asked about his tendency to wear the color red. He answered by revealing his blue Rangers shirt underneath the jacket. "The only thing you can glean is that I like whatever our fans like," he said. "We're going to listen very carefully as the season goes on to what our fans prefer. I like them both, so whatever our fans prefer, I agree with them wholeheartedly." And if the fans like red? "If they like it, it's a great idea," he said. What about a two-tone batting helmet? "That's a bad idea," he joked.
Jesse Sanchez is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.