Live from the courtroom, we blogged updates on the Rangers auction. The below posts are from NBCDFW reporters Grant Stinchfield and Scott Gordon.
1:15 a.m.: They are set to start at 9 a.m. to formalize the deal. Same place. Federal court. Fort Worth.
1:10 a.m.: A smiling Nolan Ryan just left the courthouse, telling reporters he's happy the long process is over. His partner, Chuck Greenberg, said he looks forward to running the team. Mark Cuban slipped out a side door without commenting.
12:43 a.m.: Courtroom erupts in applause.
12:42 a.m.: Mark Cuban drops out of bidding. Nolan Ryan wins bidding process. Cuban just walked up to Ryan in hallway, shook his hand, and said "congratulations, we're out."
12:37 a.m.: Nolan Ryan ups offer to $385 million, technically less than Cuban's offer of $390 million. Very confusing, but the $390 million offer includes roughly $13 million in legal fees, so its value is less. So at this point, Ryan's offer is considered the highest. Ball back in Cuban's court.
12:12 a.m.: Nolan Ryan group asks for five minutes to consider their next move. This is getting interesting. Remarkable courtroom drama that started at 9 a.m. now continues past midnight.
12:08 a.m.: Cuban bids $390 million. No immediate reaction from Ryan's side.
11:41 p.m.: Nolan Ryan increases bid to $365 million cash. All sides huddling again. The drama continues!
10:38 p.m.: Ryan-Greenberg attorneys ask for more time to consider their next step. Judge agrees. Hearing set to start again at 11 p.m.
10:30 p.m.: The judge says the hearing will resume shortly. We'll see if Nolan Ryan's camp makes a counter bid.
9:36 p.m.: Judge taking a short break. Ryan group wants five minutes.
9:34 p.m.: Cuban offers new bid of $355 million. That's increase of $20 million more than his last bid.
9:32 p.m.: Judge just ruled procedures were properly followed. "I just do not see any benefit to delaying this... I will permit (Cuban lawyer) to make another bid." Ryan lawyer now continuing to state his case.
9:29 p.m.: Cuban lawyer: "It's time to get this auction really going. Let's move the process forward." Said he's ready to make another bid.
9:28 p.m.: Nolan Ryan attorney: "The notion we're holding this up is beyond ridiculous... The goal is to get to the end. We stand to lose the most. I find it ironic the Cuban camp would accuse us of delay... The process is a mess right now."
9:24 p.m.: Other lawyers now offering counterpoints. Cuban attorney: "My client is here to own this team. We are prepared to make a bid...and move forward with the auction." He accused Ryan's attorney of trying to run the auction.
9:18 p.m.: Ryan and Greenberg attorney: "We feel the process is not fair. We're not prepared to continue. This is not an auction. An auction has rules."
9:13 p.m.: Ryan and Greenberg's attorney is protesting the process. Speaking to judge now. Complaining about how the bids were valued. The move came after Cuban team said they will bid in $10 million increments at this point. Still no winner.
9:07 p.m.: The court's chief restructuring officer and debtors evaluated the details of both bids and declared the two bids "are neck and neck." Waiting for a spreadsheet. More to come.
9:03 p.m.: Judge just called hearing to order. Stand by.
8:44 p.m.: Judge just said the hearing will resume at 9 p.m. He said after crunching the numbers, the court's chief restructuring officer will give his assessment of who has the winning bid, "which could prompt another bid." Stay tuned.
8:28 p.m.: Greenberg just explained the delay to reporters in the hallway. He said the court's chief restructuring officer and debtors are trying to crunch the numbers to place a true value on Cuban's bid. He declined to predict how much longer that process will take or even if we will see a resolution to all this tonight.
8:15 p.m.: Two hours after the judge said the hearing would resume, we're still in waiting mode. Nolan Ryan just walked down the hallway. I asked him, "Nothing new?" He smiled and said no.
7:21 p.m.: Still no sign of the judge. Mark Cuban and his people have now disappeared in the hallway. Nolan Ryan still in courtroom, which is packed with lawyers, reporters, and assorted observers waiting to see what will happen next. At this point, Cuban's cash offer of $335 million tops Ryan's offer by $15 million.
7:06 p.m.: Mark Cuban and his contingent are entering the courtroom. Nolan Ryan is here too. Looks like we could have an announcement shortly.
7:02 p.m.: Nolan Ryan is pacing the hallway outside the courtroom. Asked when something will happen, he said, "I don't know."
6:52 p.m.: Mark Cuban was just seen calling his team into a private room across from the courtroom. He looked stressed. Obviously some high stakes maneuvering is going on.
5:47 p.m.: The Ryan - Greenberg group has asked to meet with the auction evaluator to try and determine just what all the bids entail. The Cuban group wants to do the same thing. Court will reconvene at 6:15 p.m.
5:44 p.m.: Bankruptcy Judge: There's a top bid submitted... Nolan Ryan attorney: "Some uncertainty as to the amount, and some tweeks will be made." Nolan Ryan attorney: "We are going to top their cash portion of their bid by $2 million..." Their cash is $318 million... Ryan's new offer is $320 million...Drama continues...Cuban lawyer: "We would like to make a bid for $15 million over what was just announced..." $335 million total
5:41 p.m.: Both bidding groups appear to be making their way back into the court room. An insider on this deal tells me the Ryan-Greenberg Group is feverishly working with all the debtors to get everyone on board with their next offer. If that happens it could be difficult for Cuban to win the debtors over. Cuban's biggest hurdle is time. Major League Baseball could take 6 months to approve the deal, that would leave debtors sitting with $575 million in debt. Ryan's group says they can close the deal August 12th. We shall soon see what Ryan's group officially counters with.
5:16 p.m.: Mark Cuban just walked through the hallway and was asked if he has anything to spin his way, Cuban replied, "I got nothing to spin." I have plenty to spin, in fact my head is spinning right now.
4:34 p.m.: Moments ago Nolan Ryan left the courthouse to move his car. He said he has "no idea" who is ahead in the auction at this point. Asked if he was frustrated, he said "I've been frustrated a long time."
4:30 p.m.: The judge entered the court room and told us the Ryan - Greenberg just received the Cuban bid for their review. They now have another hour to review it. That means court will come back in session at 5:30. The judge again made it clear he wants to wrap this up tonight. He is willing to stay late and told all parties to prepare for that. The confirmation of the highest bid hearing is still set for tomorrow. Good luck with that! We have been here 7 and a half hours for 15 minutes of court time.
4:20 p.m.: So there is plenty of confusion over what the Cuban offer really amounts to. The court announced its $25 million over the Ryan - Greenberg offer. After long discussions with a few attornies who were in the court room, including one of Tom Hicks's attornies, I believe the Cuban bid amounts to somewhere around $330 million dollars. Some news organizations are reporting the bid is actually over $500 million. I don't believe that is correct. The land has been stripped from the deal to ensure fairness during the auction. Which would mean the original Ryan cash offer would amount to $306.7 million. But again, even Chuck Greenberg, one of the main players, couldn't say for sure. That's how complicated this all is.
3:50 p.m.: Court is in recess until 4:15. But the drama continued in the hallway when a set of lawyers involved in the auction all started cursing at each other.
3:20 p.m.: Chuck Greenberg tells me he is now very "frustrated by the process." He is angered that Cuban's groups submitted an unqualified bid last night and was then given the chance to amend it. "We have still not seen a bid, this is a moving target we have no idea what we need to come up with," Greenberg told me. We believe Cuban's offer that exceeds the 'original Ryan -Greenberg bid' by $25 million would make their bid would make it $331.7 million.
3:11 p.m.: The judge says "I'm sorry this is not a clean process... But we need to continue with auction and we will." The judge is giving the Ryan - Greenberg Group one hour to come up with their offer. He is also allowing the Ryan group to meet with the debtor to ask questions. The judge wants the next round of offers to move at 30 minute increments.
3:01 p.m.: As expected the bids are so complicated that the Ryan group fears they can not bid "apples to apples." The debtors evaluating the bids did say there are discounts to the Cuban bid. They gave the example of putting a value on how long it will take for Cuban to close the deal and get approval from MLB. Ryan's attorneys say they will appeal if bid transparency issues are not resolved. The Cuban bid is contingent on no appeal. Could the Ryan group be stalling? That's what Cuban's attorney now alleges.
2:56 p.m.: The Cuban bid exceeds the original Ryan bid by $25 million. There are still other factors that need to calculated like the time to close the deal. The Ryan group is telling the judge they do not believe the Cuban bid exceeds theirs. They also do not believe the bid does not conform to Judge Lynns bidding requirements.
2:47 p.m.: Chuck Greenberg just entered the court room and could not find a seat. When he attempted to squeeze in next to me in the last row the bailiff called him to the front. In a strange twist, they did have a seat available for him in the very front row. Court is now officially in session.
2:42 p.m.: We are now told 2:45 start time. Not bad, just 5 hours and 45 minutes later than expected! Hey, things could be worse, I could be at a standoff outside in the heat. Oh wait, I am at a standoff, but at least there is AC!
2:29 p.m.: Mark Cuban and the gang are back in the court room, once again waiting for Ryan's group. Cuban appears to be all smiles once again. There really is no way to read where this thing is headed.
2:22 p.m.: So I just talked to Chuck Greenberg. He tells me he just learned the Cuban Group had re submitted their bid and his group now has to re-evaluate that bid. To quote Greenberg on the re-submission of Cuban's bid, "wasn't that supposed to done 17 hours ago?" I asked Greenberg for a prediction on what the outcome will be. He replied, "I'm not good at giving predictions, the judge said it will be over by noon tomorrow, we shall see." And that was the end of my very cordial, friendly hallway interview with Chuck Greenberg. The "players" are now coming back into the court room.
2:09 p.m.: An attorney for one of the debtors tells me the Ryan/Greenberg group had a "question about Cuban's bid." That is why Cuban's team had to leave the room. This is going to take a while!
1:53 p.m.: The Cuban group has just left the courtroom. Mark Cuban mouthed the words "unbelievable." What that means, or what just happened, is a mystery. The group did walk past their own break out room and went up stairs to where the lenders break out room is. The wait continues.
1:48 p.m.: The court room has now been filled for the past 15 minutes. There is not a seat open... Except for the Ryan/Greenberg table. Their group is still absent from the court room, the reason is unknown, yet very odd. Mark Cuban is here and is most likely not happy about having to wait with the rest of us minions.
1:30 p.m.: We may be getting close to starting the auction proceedings. Mark Cuban just entered the court room for the first time (Tie tied and suit buttoned). Remember we are now four and a half hours past the time the auction was supposed to start.
1:15 p.m.: While Nolan Ryan and Chuck Greenberg are still at lunch, Mark Cuban was spotted pacing the hallway outside the court room. It could be another hour before court is called into session. In case anyone wondered. Cuban did wear a suit to court -- not a Rangers jersey. Though his tie is now loosened and his jacket is long gone.
12 p.m.: I know I'm not missing anything by grabbing a bite to eat at the 7th Street Grill down the street from the court house. Chuck Greenberg just walked by.
11:29 a.m.: There is still dispute over who is the highest bidder. The judge still indicates its probable the Cuban bid is the highest offer. The judge now says the Ryan-Greenberg group will need more then an hour to evaluate that bid. So court is still delayed and may not get under way until mid afternoon. If your wondering how long this will all take, the judge said he has approval from the federal government to run the air conditioning past 5 p.m.
11:05 a.m.: It now appears Cuban may be the highest bidder because the judge just indicated in court that after the bid is announced at 11:30 the Ryan - Greenberg group may need an additional hour to evaluate that bid. The drama continues and court hasn't even started yet.
11:00 a.m.: The judge just delayed the proceeding again. He said one of the bidders needs more time to review the highest bid. The judge said it should not be a long delay. There is no word on who is the highest bidder.
10:53 a.m.: It appears the two bidding groups will be in separate rooms during the bidding process. The auction will be held over speaker phone with the judge conducting the proceeding from the bench. We assume the arrangement is to accommodate the large teams of bankers and lawyers that accompanied the two bidding groups to court and their need for privacy.
10:13 a.m.: The rumbling in the court room is that the dispute over the bids was whether or not the Cuban group submitted their bid on time. The judge apparently decided they did!
9:58 a.m.: The delay was due to a question over whether or not the court had two qualified bidders. They have determined there are two qualified bidders and the auction will start at 11 a.m. The next step from now until 11 a.m. is to figure out exactly what the starting bid is. Yes its that complicated. The court did not say who the two bidders are but all odds are still on the Nolan Ryan - Chuck Greenberg group and the Mark Cuban group.
9:40 a.m.: Court is still not in session. There is no word on what is holding up the start of an auction that has the court room packed with media folks and lawyers who just stopped by to observe the "circus." With all the twists and turns to get to this day, there is the possibility some last minute dealings are going on in the judges chambers. Nothing would surprise me.
9:17 a.m.: Court is obviously delayed. No word on why. All the major players are here but not in the courtroom.
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