NEW YORK -- The two groups bidding to buy the Miami Marlins from Jeffrey Loria are relatively even in their offers, according to commissioner Rob Manfred.
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush leads one group, which includes former New York Yankees captain Derek Jeter, who would head the team's baseball operations. The other group is led by businessman Tagg Romney, son of former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, and includes Hall of Famer Tom Glavine.
"There are two bidders, at least, for the franchise. The bidders are in relatively the same place in terms of price, maybe minuscule differences, and they are in fact in the price range that Mr. Loria was looking for," Manfred said Thursday after a quarterly owners meeting.
Loria, 76, bought the Marlins for $158.5 million in 2002 from John Henry, who was part of the group that bought the Boston Red Sox.
The groups are bidding to buy the Marlins for about $1.3 billion, which would include the assumption of about $100 million in baseball-related debt. More than $200 million in other debt associated with the team would be paid by Loria as part of the closing.
"The process is moving forward. It's really between the Marlins and the bidders," Manfred said. "At this point, two things need to happen. There needs to be a solidified financial structure presented to us so that we're sure that we actually have a transaction that can move ahead, and there are certain documents, the most important of which are a purchase and sale agreement that need to be negotiated between the buyer and the seller. And we'll be ready to process the transaction when those two things are completed."
Under baseball's debt-service rule, a deal in the range being discussed would require about $800 million in equity. Groups have to show additional money has been raised to operate the team.
A sale requires approval of 75 percent of the teams.