Robbies reportedly have deal to sell Dolphins

June 15, 1993|By Knight-Ridder News Service

MIAMI -- Under pressure to pay estate taxes on the sports empire built by their father, the Robbie family has signed a letter of intent to sell the Miami Dolphins and their half of Joe Robbie Stadium, sources said yesterday.

The Robbies have agreed to sell the team to a group headed by investor Nelson Peltz and real-estate mogul Bruce Frey, said three people familiar with the talks.

Sources said the price, which is subject to negotiation, ranges from about $140-$157 million. Peltz is an investor who recently bought control of DWG Corp., the Miami Beach company that controls Royal Crown Cola and Arby's.

Janet Robbie, one of three Robbie siblings who controls the team, declined to comment, citing a family policy against discussing the sale of the team. Tim Robbie, Dolphins president, did not return messages.

The deal is far from complete. H. Wayne Huizenga, who owns 15 percent of the Dolphins and half of the stadium, has a right of first refusal, meaning he can match any offer and add the Dolphins to his collection of South Florida sports franchises.

Huizenga said that he has heard recent rumors about a deal, but did not know that a letter of intent has been signed. He said he has not decided what to do but that the reported price sounds too high.

"I've taken the position that the Robbies and I are friends, and we know exactly what they and I have to do," he said. "So when the time comes, he [Tim Robbie] is going to lay something on my desk one day and I'm going to have to make a decision. That day has not come yet."

Since the 1990 death of patriarch Joe Robbie and the subsequent death of his wife, Elizabeth, the Robbies have been under pressure to raise money for estate taxes estimated to be as much as $47 million.

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