Jim Crane, the Houston businessman who was involved in the negotiations to purchase the Texas Rangers last year, has apparently agreed to buy the Houston Astros from Drayton McLane.
Crane was the guy who was supposedly in discussions with Tom Hicks after the "exclusive" negotiating period with the Greenberg/Ryan group was in place, which kicked up a bunch of controversy and had the creditors screaming foul.
If you recall,the ultimate purchase price for the Rangers was $593 million. Crane has supposedly agreed to buy the Astros for $680 million.
The natural reaction is...why so much more? If Crane wasn't willing to go over $600 million for the Rangers, why is he paying $680 million for the Astros, who are in a smaller media market and are on the opposite end of the spectrum, competitiveness-wise right now?
The short answer to the question, it turns out, is that he's not. Crane is also buying the Astros' interest in their regional sports network, and Forbes is putting the price on the Astros at $475-500 million, with the remainder of the purchase price being for the network.
Nevertheless, as Maury Brown points out, there are some aspects of the deal that cause some raised eyebrows, particularly the financing of the purchase. As Brown points out, there is $300 million of the purchase being financed, which would conceivably put the Astros in violation of the league's debt limit.
In any case, while it doesn't really matter, it is a bit reassuring as a Rangers fan to see that the team apparently sold for about $100 million more than the Astros are selling for. And I prefer our current ownership group, in lieu of the Crane/Cuban duo.