The sale saga has its next chapter, and maybe a conclusion.
Owner agreed Friday to sell the team for $1.2 billion to a group that’s headed by Bruce Sherman — a retired money manager and longtime Naples resident — and highlighted by legend , according to multiple reports.
The deal is not final yet, and likely won’t be for months. It will need approval from 21 of the other 29 major league team owners.
The Marlins and , through spokesmen, declined to comment.
Jorge Mas, the other primary bidder for the team, has not been officially notified of Loria’s agreement with the Sherman/Jeter group, a source close to Mas told the Sun Sentinel on Friday evening. The source said Mas met with MLB officials on Thursday and laid out his group’s financing, including investors. Mas was not willing to offer as much as $1.2 billion, according to the source.
A purchase agreement between Loria and the Sherman/Jeter group was expected to be submitted to MLB on Friday, . Fox Business reported that Loria and Sherman/Jeter have In April, Loria reached an agreement in principle to sell the team to a group including Jeter and former Florida Gov. , but that deal was not completed.
Sherman, 69, will be the new ownership group’s control person, while Jeter, 43, will run the business and baseball operations departments, . Jeter is said to be investing only $25 million of his own money.
Sherman previously headed the Naples-based Private Capital Management. He retired in 2009.
In recent years, Sherman and his wife, Cynthia, have engaged in philanthropic endeavors through The Bruce & Cynthia Sherman Charitable Foundation. That includes the annual Sherman Prize, a pair of $100,000 awards that honor achievements of those leading the fight against Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Sherman’s late father had Crohn’s, as do two daughters.
The Shermans also organize the annual Naples Winter Wine Festival, which has raised more than $161 million for the Naples Children & Education Foundation since 2001.
Jeter, who lives in Tampa, has long expressed a desire to own a major league team, but that his group is so close to winning is something of an underdog story. He has been involved with the bidding since the process began, but his ever-shifting group of investors has been hit by key defections, including that of Chicago billionaire Richard Chaifetz last month and Bush in late May.
Jeter’s current group is comprised of 16 investors, including legend and owner Michael Jordan, . Jordan and Jeter have long been friends.
Jeter won five championships in his 20 years playing shortstop for the Yankees. He was briefly teammates with and then coached by current Marlins manager .
On Friday at Marlins Park, Mattingly spoke glowingly but in generalities about Jeter, saying he was unaware of any sale deal.
“Derek has been successful in everything he’s tried to do,” Mattingly said. “Good people with the kind of ability that he had as a player, that translates into business just like it does just like it does to anything else. I think that foundation, hard work, determination, confidence, all those things lead you to believe that Derek is going to be successful at whatever he wants to do.”
MLB’s owners are scheduled to meet in Chicago next week, but and The Herald report that they are not likely to vote on the potential Marlins sale at those meetings.
Still, the agreement appears to bring closer to an end a soap opera that has dragged on from the early days of , when club president David Samson . The process continued through the spring, when multiple other groups were reportedly closing in on buying the Marlins, and past baseball’s in Miami last month, when Mas seemed to emerge as a late favorite.
A third bidding group, led by Quogue Capital founder Wayne Rothbaum and Bush, had been quieter over the past month-plus and this week.
All along, Loria — a New York native known to fancy Yankees stars, including Mattingly — seemed to favor Jeter, allowing him months to recruit the needed financial support.
Loria, who previously owned the , bought the Marlins for $158 million in 2002. The Marlins won the World Series in 2003 but haven’t returned to the playoffs since, and they last had a winning season in 2009.
Staff writers Dave Hyde and Craig Davis contributed to this report.