ARLINGTON -- A group headed by Pittsburgh sports attorney Chuck Greenberg and club president Nolan Ryan have agreed to waive their exclusive right to purchase the Rangers and allow other potential buyers to submit another bid.The Greenberg-Ryan group reached an agreement with current owner Tom Hicks on Jan. 23 to buy the team for $575 million. Final approval of the sale has been held up by the lenders who hold the debt on Hicks Sports Group, and the matter is currently in Federal Bankruptcy Court in Fort Worth. One of the objections by the lenders is that there are other potential buyers out there who would pay more for the team. Now the Greenberg-Ryan group has reached an agreement with Rangers representatives and with William Snyder to allow potential buyers to submit a topping bid. Snyder is the court-appointed chief restructuring officer who is overseeing the mediation between the lenders and Hicks Sports Group. By agreeing to waive their exclusive agreement, Greenberg-Ryan is hoping this will help end the extended legal maneuverings and bring a quick resolution to the dispute. "Our group was selected last December after an extensive marketing process because we put forward the strongest bid for the Rangers," Greenberg said in a statement. "Today, nearly seven months later, our bid is superior and best serves the interest of the Rangers and their fans." Greenberg-Ryan has the backing of Major League Baseball and presumably would be made official by the Office of the Commissioner soon after the transaction is completed. Any purchaser who tops the Greenberg-Ryan bid must still be approved by Major League Baseball. The $575 million purchase price agreed to by Greenberg-Ryan includes both cash and an assumption of the club's debt. The group has announced that it has received in escrow from all partners the full amount of equity needed to complete the sale. The group has also completed financial agreements to address the debt portion of the deal. This would hopefully allow the transaction to be completed quickly once the matter is resolved in bankruptcy court. Subject to bankruptcy court approval, July 16 is expected to be the deadline for second bids to be submitted. That would allow the sale to be completed by late July or early August.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.