Orioles' owner Jacobs owes more than $300 million List of debts is filed in bankruptcy court

April 21, 1993|By Mark Hyman | Mark Hyman,Staff Writer

Orioles owner Eli S. Jacobs, who entered Chapter 11 bankruptcy this week, has debts exceeding $300 million.

Mr. Jacobs owes at least $273.4 million in unsecured loans, according to papers filed yesterday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York. In addition, he owes at least $47.5 million in loans secured by the Orioles, according to public records.

The figures in the court documents listing Mr. Jacobs' debts on unsecured loans -- those not backed by collateral -- provided some of the most detailed information yet concerning the New York investor's finances. The documents include debts to Mr. Jacobs' 20 largest creditors. A fuller picture of his finances is expected to emerge when Mr. Jacobs discloses his total liabilities and assets, as required under bankruptcy law.

The court filing shows that Morgan Guaranty Trust Co. of New York has the largest unsecured claims against Mr. Jacobs, with loans and loan guarantees totaling about $71 million. Other lenders holding unsecured loans include the Bank of New York, $54 million; and Baltimore's Mercantile-Safe Deposit & Trust Co., $32.1 million.

Mr. Jacobs is involved in "developing and actively managing" a range of businesses, including those in the fields of restaurant food, agriculture and professional sports, the court papers say.

In addition to the team, Mr. Jacobs owns stock in at least three companies, according to the papers. They are:

* Systemix Inc., a biotechnology company that develops products for use in medicine and science. Mr. Jacobs owns 14 percent of the company, which had assets of $129 million as of June 30, 1992.

* Restaurants Unlimited Inc., a company that owns and operates restaurants and a chain of bakery stores. The company, of which Mr. Jacobs owns approximately 58 percent, had assets of $53.7 million as of last June.

* Beef America Inc. a beef packing company. Mr. Jacobs owns about 31 percent of Beef America, which had assets of about $181 million in June.

Mr. Jacobs owns 87 percent of the Orioles, which he bought in 1989. He has been negotiating the sale of the team for at least six months to investors led by Cincinnati businessman William O. DeWitt Jr. The group has offered about $140 million for the team, according to sources familiar with the talks.

Lawyers for Mr. Jacobs said this week that an announcement regarding the sale could come in the next few weeks.

Any sale of the Orioles -- which is Mr. Jacobs' chief asset -- must be approved by a bankruptcy judge. After an offer is received, Bankruptcy Judge Cornelius Blackshear would schedule a hearing in court, during which competing bidders or dissatisfied creditors could voice their opposition.

While under the protection of bankruptcy court, Mr. Jacobs cannot be sued by creditors and will be given time to develop a plan to reorganize his finances.

The New York investor has been hard hit in the past several years, as some of his businesses faltered in the recession and under a heavy load of debt. Seven banks petitioned to force him into personal bankruptcy last month, and Mr. Jacobs consented to the move this week.

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