Miami Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria is finalizing an agreement to sell the team to a group that includes former New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter for $1.2 billion, a source confirmed to ESPN on Friday.
The deal is likely to be announced “in the coming days,” the source said.
The Miami Herald was first to report the pending agreement between Loria and a group headed by Bruce Sherman, a New York venture capitalist whose contingent has about 16 investors. Sherman will be the control person for the Marlins’ new ownership group and will represent the organization at Major League Baseball meetings, while Jeter — who is reportedly investing about $25 million of his own money — will run the baseball side of the operation, the Herald reported.
The Sherman-Jeter group, which also includes former NBA great Michael Jordan, beat out a contingent led by Miami businessman Jorge Mas. Quogue Capital founder Wayne Rothbaum, who led a third group that included former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, dropped out of the bidding earlier this week.
Jordan, who is a minority owner of the team, joined Jeter’s original bid. Jordan’s business manager, Estee Portnoy, confirmed with ESPN on Friday that the Charlotte Hornets owner is still part of the investment team.
In 2002, Jeter became the first baseball player to be sponsored by Jordan’s Nike Jumpman brand. Jeter is still under contract.
Jordan upgraded his stake in the Hornets, then the Bobcats, from a minority share to a majority share in 2010 at a valuation of $275 million. Forbes magazine says the Hornets are now worth $780 million.
Loria bought the Marlins from John Henry in 2002 for $158 million, funding the purchase by selling the Montreal Expos to Major League Baseball for $120 million and covering the rest with a $38 million loan from MLB. But the Marlins haven’t made the playoffs since, and Loria has become increasingly more unpopular in South Florida in recent years after the team moved into a new, largely publicly financed stadium and fielded payrolls among the lowest in the game.
The Marlins increased their payroll to $115 million this season, but the combination of lagging attendance and relatively meager TV revenue had resulted in Loria incurring substantial debt. The Herald reported that the Marlins are expected to lose about $60 million this season.
MLB owners are scheduled to meet in Chicago next week, but the Herald said it’s unclear if they will be ready to approve the sale of the Marlins to the Sherman-Jeter group within that time frame.
ESPN’s Darren Rovell and The Associated Press contributed to this report.