Dolan makes $700 million bid for Red Sox

Friday, January 11th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

BOSTON (AP) _ The group that submitted the winning bid for the Boston Red Sox is showing little sign it is worried about a late offer for the team by rival bidder Charles Dolan.

Former Orioles and Padres president Larry Lucchino, a member of John W. Henry's bidding group, said Thursday he had heard about Dolan's new bid.

``The bidding process closed three weeks ago, so we don't really have any comment,'' he said.

Asked if he thought the Dolan bid was too late, Henry replied: ``Yeah, I do.''

The comments came after Dolan, chairman of Cablevision Systems Corp., made a new bid for the team, a $700 million offer that was $40 million higher than the winning offer the team accepted three weeks ago.

The Red Sox acknowledged the offer from Dolan, but didn't say if it would affect the $660 million offer it accepted in mid-December from a group led by Henry, the current owner of the Florida Marlins.

``We received a new bid this afternoon from Mr. Dolan of $440 million for the Yawkey (Trust) interests in the Boston Red Sox and $260 million for the remaining limited partner interests,'' the team said in a statement Thursday.

The statement said the office of Massachusetts Attorney General Thomas Reilly office had been informed, and that, ``we are in the process of letting the Red Sox limited partners know of this development and will comment further when appropriate.''

Dolan told the Boston Herald on Thursday: ``Our plan is to bid aggressively. We are in this to win.''

In an interview with The Boston Globe, Dolan said he made his last-ditch offer because ``the Red Sox are a wonderful franchise in a great market.''

He said the offer will help Red Sox chief executive officer John Harrington get maximum value for the Yawkey Trust, which has controlling interest in the team.

New York attorney Miles Prentice has said he bid $750 million for the team _ $50 million more than Dolan's latest bid _ but the Red Sox have insisted his financing arrangements were incomplete, which Prentice denies.

Reilly, emerging from a meeting Friday with major league baseball counsel Bob DuPuy, said he planned to talk by telephone with commissioner Bud Selig.

``It's very clear from this process there were not rules, the rules were changed hour by hour, bidder by bidder,'' Reilly said.

DuPuy described the discussion as ``cordial'' and said there was ``nothing troubling'' about the sale. He referred questions about Dolan's offer to the Red Sox.

Reilly has accused baseball officials of manipulating the Red Sox into accepting a bid from the Henry group for $660 million, less than Prentice's $750 million bid for the team, which owns Fenway Park and 80 percent of the New England Sports Network

DuPuy denied the accusation. He said baseball owners have scheduled ``discussion and possible action'' on the sale when they meet next week in Phoenix.

Reilly also met this week with Prentice and with limited partner Samuel Tamposi Jr., a New Hampshire businessman.

Reilly said he has an obligation to make sure the charities that stand to benefit from the sale receive the maximum amount because his office oversees charities and charitable trusts.

Tamposi said he tried to persuade Reilly that charities benefiting from the Red Sox sale will get more, not less, from the sale of the team to the Henry group.

Besides Lucchino, Henry's group includes former Padres owner Tom Werner, former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell and The New York Times Co., the owner of The Boston Globe.

Reilly spokeswoman Ann Donlan said Reilly does not view next week's owners' meeting as a deadline for any action.

``We've been taking it day by day,'' she said.

The Red Sox cannot be turned over to Henry until he has an agreement to sell the Marlins.