Harrington: Bid evaluations may take weeks

Tuesday, November 27th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

CHICAGO (AP) _ It may take weeks to evaluate bids submitted for a controlling stake in the Red Sox, Boston chief executive officer John Harrington said Tuesday.

The Jean R. Yawkey Trust, which has controlled the team since 1994, set a Thursday deadline to receive offers for its 53 percent stake in the team, which owns Fenway Park and 80 percent of the New England Sports Network.

``We may get as many as five bids,'' Harrington said before a meeting of baseball owners at O'Hare International Airport.

Harrington wouldn't say if the winning bidder will be determined by highest bid. FleetBoston Financial and Salomon Smith Barney are the team's financial advisers.

``We have to get to Thursday first,'' he said. ``It really heats up after that. It may take weeks to analyze the bids.''

A group led by television producer Tom Werner and Maine ski resort mogul Les Otten announced Monday it has brought former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell, a longtime Red Sox fan, into its group as an investor. Mitchell was a member of baseball commissioner Bud Selig's latest economic study committee.

Werner, the former controlling owner of the San Diego Padres, is likely to hire Larry Lucchino, the former president of the Baltimore Orioles and Padres, to run the Red Sox, according to a high-ranking baseball executive, speaking on the condition he not be identified.

Florida Marlins owner John Henry, who has talked of selling his team to current Montreal Expos owner Jeffrey Loria, has discussed becoming a minority investor in Werner's group.

Charles Dolan, the founder of Cablevision Systems Corp., has gotten John McMullen to join his group, the Boston Globe reported Tuesday. McMullen is the former controlling owner of the Houston Astros and the NHL's New Jersey Devils, and is a former limited partner of the New York Yankees.

Harrington announced on Oct. 6, 2000, that the Yawkey Trust would sell its stake in the Red Sox.

Thomas Yawkey bought the team from J.A. Robert Quinn in 1933, and Jean Yawkey took over when her husband died in 1976.

Jean Yawkey, Haywood Sullivan and Buddy LeRoux bought the team's general partnership from the estate and Jean Yawkey later bought out LeRoux.

When Jean Yawkey died in 1992, she willed all her holdings to her trust, and Harrington gained complete control of the team in November 1993 when Trust bought out Harrington.