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June 15, 2010

Judge says he tends to agree with Rangers

The final paragraph of a very brief report by The Associated Press on the proceedings in a Fort Worth courtroom today indicates that things might be going the Rangers' way as they try to convince a U.S. Bankruptcy judge to accept the club's prepagackaged Chapter 11 filing that would allow the team to be sold to Chuck Greenberg and Nolan Ryan.

Here's the paragraph: "U.S. Bankruptcy Judge D. Michael Lynn said Tuesday that he tended to agree with the Rangers' argument. Attorneys for the creditors were to present their arguments later Tuesday afternoon."

The argument is that the lenders have not been impaired by the sale, and if anything, the sale price for the team increased during negotiations with Hicks Sports Group as HSG leveraged more money from Greenberg-Ryan by continuing to negotiate with Houston businessman Jim Crane during an exclusive window.

Also, the higher bid the lenders claim exists from Crane would face significant obsticles in getting approved by Major League Baseball and 75 percent of its team owners.

The lenders, as the AP story said, are presenting their arguments this afternoon. If Judge Lynn rules that they are not impaired by the current deal, the sale of the Rangers could be completed by July. If the court finds the lenders are impaired, get ready for another July trade deadline to pass without any significant deals for a team that enters tonight's games with a one-game lead in the American League West.

If the bidding is reopened, the Greenberg-Ryan group could receive up to $10 million as part of a breakup fee to help cover their mounting expenses and also to help them prepare a new bid. These agreements are not unusual, and it was a condition Greenberg-Ryan insisted upon before allowing HSG to file for bankruptcy.

-- Jeff Wilson

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