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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