Jeffrey Loria is one of the world’s most successful art dealers. (Above is a detail from a Giacometti painting he sold a few years ago at Christie’s for $33m.) He’s also shown a knack for sharp trading when he first took control of the Montreal Expos and then executed a complex series of transactions involving multiple parties that resulted in his owning the Florida Marlins and the Expos moving to Washington, DC, with John W. Henry getting the Boston Red Sox in the bargain.
For anyone with knowledge of the cascading 1031 exchanges that take place in the art market, the deal sounds a bit familiar.
Now Loria is facing the prospect of turning what amounted to a $50m investment in the Expos to a potential $1bn sale of the Marlins. But bidders are complaining that deadlines are passing without decisions and there’s a lack of expertise in the deal-making team. Here’s what the NYPost reports today:
“There is no process,” said a source close to the situation. “The truth is, it is chaos.”
A Derek Jeter-led bidding group is said to have offered $1.2 billion for the money-losing team, while Jorge Mas, a Miami billionaire, has bid slightly less. A third group, led by Tagg Romney, son of Mitt Romney, is also in the running, sources said.
Loria is seeking $1.3 billion.
“[Loria] won’t make a decision,” the source said. “Everyone is dancing and no one is committing.”
For some insight into Loria’s obsession with baseball, the Marlins and his team’s fall from the pinnacle of sport after his first season of ownership, read this Sports Illustrated feature story from 2013.