A press conference was called by the Texas Rangers baseball team Monday, May 24, at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, with team principals announcing a plan "to facilitate completion of the previously announced sale of the Club to the Greenberg-Ryan group. Participating in the press conference were Chuck Greenberg, Tom Hicks and Nolan Ryan. (Fort Worth Star-Telegram/Paul Moseley)
The sale of the Texas Rangers to the Greenberg-Ryan group has been approved in a unanimous vote by Major League Baseball owners. Official word on the approval from MLB is expected to come later in the day Thursday.
"I can't tell you how excited we are to complete our purchase of the Texas Rangers," Greenberg said. "It's been a long journey, but well worth the wait. We believe that this franchise belongs to all of its fans, and we pledge to be passionate in all we do to bring you the very best on and off the field."
The Greenberg-Ryan group are the sixth to own the club in its history.
"We can now turn our full attention to continuing what has been a great season on the field," Ryan said. "We thank the fans and the community for their tremendous loyalty and support and we look forward to the excitement as we head down the stretch and into October."
"I am very pleased that Chuck, Nolan and their impressive ownership group have been approved as the new leadership of the Texas Rangers franchise," Commissioner Bud Selig said. "Chuck and Nolan have demonstrated an unwavering commitment to the Rangers. Their passion for Major League Baseball as a whole and particularly the future of baseball in Texas is exemplary."
ESPN reports that the sale could be closed Thursday and that the new ownership group of Greenberg and Hall of Famer and team president Nolan Ryan is expected to be in place when the Rangers face the Red Sox at the Ballpark in Arlington on Friday night.
The Greenberg-Ryan group won the right to buy the team during an auction in a Tarrant County courtroom last week. Facing Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, the team won the auction on a bid of $590 million.
Selig also acknowledged the Rangers' faithful for standing by their team during the process.
"I want to thank the Rangers' fans for their patience throughout this difficult process," he said. "I am confident that Chuck, Nolan and the entire ownership group will serve as dedicated stewards of this club by building a long-term, stable franchise which values its standing in the Dallas-Fort Worth communities. I am glad that the Rangers' great season on the field will get the attention it deserves during the pennant race."
Greenberg-Ryan cleared two more hurdles to ownership Wednesday when the MLB ownership committee and executive council each unanimously approved the sale at the quarterly owners' meetings in Minneapolis.
The Rangers' plan and sale to the Greenberg-Ryan group had been in jeopardy since shortly after the team's bankruptcy filing in May. Angry creditors successfully argued to re-open the bidding although the Greenberg-Ryan group was chosen as the team's owner in January after the original sale process.
Had the plan had been rejected, the team would have remained in bankruptcy court and the Greenberg-Ryan group -- long endorsed by Major League Baseball -- would have lost its chance to purchase the team, since its funding guarantee expired Thursday.
Creditors will receive $75 million from the team in the bankruptcy plan, but the judge has said they can sue other entities of Hicks Sports Group, which defaulted on about $525 million in loans last year.
Hicks is co-owner of the Liverpool football club, which is for sale, but the London sports team is not part of Hicks Sports Group.
In a statement Thursday, Hicks said MLB approval for the sale was a "bittersweet moment."
"This is much that we will miss; however, this sale has produced an outcome that is positive for the Texas Rangers, Major League Baseball and even for the lenders," he said in the statement. "More importantly, a strong leadership team will be in place to help guide the franchise to the next level. I look forward to joining all the other Ranger fans that cheer for this team to have success come October."