Drayton acknowledges near-deal. But are the Astros for sale?

I spent most of the day sifting through various media reports detailing Drayton McLane’s near-sale of the Astros after the 2008 season.

McLane acknowledged the handshake deal between him and Houston-based businessman Jim Crane that occurred after a price was negotiated, but apparently the deal was not put into writing and never got to the stage where MLB’s owners and the Commissioner have to give their stamp of approval.

That handshake deal was made public on Tuesday through reports coming out of Dallas, where Crane was attempting to be the next owner of the Rangers. And then, it became a story in Houston.

So, here’s what we know:

1) In 2008, McLane agreed to a deal in principle sell majority ownership to Crane. The deal was later pulled off the table after Crane, according to McLane, cited his concern with the economic downturn.

2) McLane is not actively shopping the Astros, but he listens when a suitor comes calling. (I’m guessing it goes something like this: McLane: “Sure, show me what you’ve got.” Suitor: “Well, I don’t have much.” McLane: “Thanks for stopping by.”)

A couple of McLane quotes in this story by MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart stood out to me:

1) “In the last five or six years, a lot of people and talked [to me about buying the team] and 99 percent of the time it never amounts to more than one conversation.”

2) “If somebody comes to me or one of my sons and was a highly credible person or organization and had the financial wherewithal, we’d talk to them. If you ask me, ‘Are the Astros for sale?’ No.”

So, it appears McLane is not actively shopping the Astros. But if someone ponied up, say, $450 million, I’m guessing it would pique McLane’s interest. Can’t say I blame him — he bought the team for $117 million in 1992, so an offer of four times that amount would be tempting, especially if he doesn’t envision ownership of the Astros to stay within the family.

I love my house, but if someone offered me four times what I paid for it…well, you do the math.

This has been a strange story. I imagine if this had all come out a year ago, when the handshake deal took place, it would have some legs. Instead, everyone missed the story, and now, I just feel like I’m late to the party and someone has already eaten all of the guacamole dip.

What say you?

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6 Comments

What do I say? I say I wish it was the Astros that Nolan Ryan was about to buy instead of the Rangers. Well, I get all of the Rangers games on TV here, so I guess I’ll be able to watch them do well while the Astros wallow in a puddle of mediocrity for the next decade thanks to Drayton and Tal’s idiotic running (or should I say RUINing) of this team.

A handshake in Texas means a done deal. The Astros’ owner is still Drayton Mclane because Jim Crane backed out. Not the other way around.

Alyson, remember this name: Tillman Fertitta.

B2, until Tillman separates himself from the casino business — and by separate, I mean cease to have any deals of any kind whatsoever in the gambling business — he will never, ever own a baseball team.

QUOTE ~ “B2, until Tillman separates himself from the casino business — and by separate, I mean cease to have any deals of any kind whatsoever in the gambling business — he will never, ever own a baseball team.” ~ END QUOTE
———————————————————————-

Can you imagine the scenario if by some odd quirk Fertitta were able to buy in to a Major League franchise? The league would first have to apologize to Pete Rose.

Allison: Yes ~$450 is roughly 4 times what he paid for it, but that was 17 years ago. You have to look at what kind of return he would get if he took that money and put it in something else; say stocks, mutual funds, bonds, CD’s (money CD’s not music)._______________________If I did my math right and you took $117 million and invested it 17years ago at 8% interest that would equate to a little over $430million. 8% a year for the past 17 years is not too bad of a return, especially in this economy. You also have to look at if he borrowed any money to buy this team which i’m assuming he did; atleast a little bit. So don’t just look at the dollar value look at the whole picture._____________Just my Humble opinion but I think the reason why he’s “shopping” the team around is, excluding this past year the team’s “worth” aka “dollar Value” has increased significantly over the past 17 years. You’re looking at the sucsess of the the Killer B’s in the 90′s and early 2000′s plus a few post season apperiances plus a world series apperience. So the per year dollar increase over the past 17 years has gone up but if you look into the crystall ball for the next couple years we’re not getting to the post season any time soon (min. of 2012). So the per year dollar increase is going to be less. Which means that 8% return every year for the past 17 years will go down, to maybe 6%. And 6% a year for a guy like drayton is not good, heck I can 6% and i’m broke.

_K

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