Hicks trying to keep majority ownership of Rangers

Nov 19, 2009 - 7:19 AM DALLAS(AP) -- Texas Rangers owner Tom Hicks is putting together a group of local investors, including Hall of Fame quarterback Roger Staubach, for a bid that would enable him to keep majority ownership of the team.

"I'm exploring my own group," Hicks said in a report on ESPNDallas.com, one of four local media outlets he spoke with Wednesday. "Sizable commitments have been made."

Proposals to buy the Rangers are due Friday.

"To me, local support, sponsorship, and ownership are better for the Rangers," Hicks said.

Groups led by Pittsburgh attorney Chuck Greenberg, Houston businessman Jim Crane and White Sox special assistant and former sports agent Dennis Gilbert have been identified as potential bidders, and all have previously met with team officials and toured Rangers Ballpark. Hicks says another group besides his could also submit a proposal.

When contacted Wednesday night by The Associated Press, Hicks said "it's all a process," but wouldn't elaborate. He has owned the team since 1998.

Nolan Ryan, the Hall of Fame pitcher who just completed his second season as the team's president, could become involved in ownership of the team, either with Hicks or another of the potential buyers.

According to the local media reports, Hicks said that once proposals are submitted they will be evaluated to determine which makes the most sense to pay down or eliminate debt accrued by Hicks Sports Group, which earlier this year defaulted on $525 million in loans tied to the Rangers and the NHL's Dallas Stars. Hicks, who is maintaining his ownership of the Stars, said then it was an intentional move to force lenders to renegotiate.

Hicks told the four news outlets that the process of finding a new owner for the Rangers could be completed within the next 45 days. New ownership, even a group led by Hicks, would have to be approved by Major League Baseball, the NHL and a group of 40 lenders holding debt from Hicks Sports Group.

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