Jacobs, Warfield's settle libel suit apology published

December 07, 1991

Orioles owner Eli S. Jacobs has settled his libel suit against Warfield's magazine over an August article that highlighted financial woes in many of Mr. Jacobs' businesses.

The magazine ran a publisher's note saying that it apologized for possibly implying that Mr. Jacobs was also in personal financial trouble.

"Any implication or suggestion in the article that Mr. Jacobs confronts personal bankruptcy, that his credit standing has been impaired by recent investments, or that he is in a cash bind, were unfounded and unwarranted," said a statement under the byline of Edwin Warfield IV, the magazine's publisher.

Warfield's Associate Publisher Robert A. Dawson said the magazine could not comment further, since the settlement included a provision that neither side would make public comments.

The original article actually said several times that the magazine couldn't tell whether Mr. Jacobs was in personal financial trouble because most of his investments are in privately owned companies. Those companies don't report financial results to government agencies and the public.

The article by Eric Garland, a former Warfield's editor, quoted a Jacobs spokesman as saying the Orioles owner, who was best-known for venture capital investing and leveraged buyouts before buying the baseball team, is worth $500 million or more.

"In his defense, Jacobs has stated he has invested in more than a hundred companies in his career, and on balance has many more winners than losers," the article said. "Since nearly all of his companies are privately held, one has to take Jacobs at his word."

But the article stressed problems at companies in which Mr. Jacobs has invested in leveraged buyouts and which do make public financial reports for the benefit of investors who trade the companies' stock or bonds in public markets. Several of those companies have had financial problems, and some have had to restructure their debt or have defaulted on bonds.

Mr. Jacobs' suit, which was filed Aug. 7 and sought $36 million, contended the article contained statements that blurred the line between the companies' problems and Mr. Jacobs' personal financial strength.

The publisher's note appeared in the last issue of Warfield's, which reached newsstands yesterday.

The magazine is closing because of low circulation. It will be replaced by a weekly newspaper called Warfield's Business Record.

Mr. Jacobs is a director of Times Mirror Co., which owns The Baltimore Sun.

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