Bucs talk with more shoppers

January 07, 1995|By Jon Morgan | Jon Morgan,Sun Staff Writer

Trustees trying to sell the Tampa Bay Buccaneers yesterday met with two more prospective bidders -- including Baltimore attorney Robert Schulman -- and predicted a wave of offers Monday.

Steve Story, one of three trustees selling the team for the estate of late owner Hugh Culverhouse Jr., told reporters yesterday that none of the bidders wanted to go first, so he didn't expect much activity over the weekend.

But come Monday, when the only formal bid expires, Story said up to four offers could come in -- including one from Orioles managing partner Peter Angelos.

Angelos, however, declined to comment on the status of his talks with the team, including a meeting he and Story held in Baltimore on Thursday.

Story, in a written statement yesterday, described the meeting as "a more in-depth session that focused on the parameters of an offer for the Buccaneers that Mr. Angelos expects to make.

"At this point he has not made any offer for the team but I do anticipate that an offer will be forthcoming before Monday," Story said.

Angelos declined to comment yesterday.

Story said he also expects an offer from another group with Baltimore ties. The trustees met yesterday with Schulman, who has sought several teams for Baltimore, and Jacksonville, Fla.- based attorney Terry Moore.

Schulman was not available for comment yesterday, but Moore told the St. Petersburg Times that he would not say where the team would play if his group bought it.

Schulman has been part of unsuccessful bids for the New England Patriots and Los Angeles Rams over the past year, teams he said he would try to bring to Baltimore.

The trustees have demonstrated remarkably bad luck at predicting when offers would come in. They had said they expected a bid from Angelos in the last week of 1994. And last week they expected three separate offers from Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, pencil-company executive Gino Pala and Florida-based financier Malcolm Glazer.

So far, only one bid has been made formal. An offer estimated to be worth between $145 million and $155 million was filed several weeks ago by a number of investors, including officers of the Outback Steakhouse chain. The offer is set to expire Monday.

The trustees, who privately have said they believe the team is worth at least $175 million, have not said what they will do if they reject the Outback bid, but have urged prospective bidders to get their offers in by the close of business Monday.

There has been speculation that they may take the team off the market for a year to try to win stadium improvements that will enhance its value. Others have suggested the trustees simply may be trying to pressure investors into making bids.

Bruce Frey, an investor with a group led by Palm Beach, Fla., millionaire George Lindemann, said his group would not increase its earlier oral offer of about $137 million and believes there will be no sale Monday.

"We're staying pat," Frey said. "We just don't think the [Outback] offer will hold up and we don't think the Angelos deal will hold. I think it will include a contingency that the team be moved and I don't think the trustees will risk any contingencies."

Angelos, who could put the team in a new stadium to be built next to Oriole Park, has said he would pay $200 million if the franchise can be relocated.

Glazer does intend to pursue the team, and could bid up to $175 million, according to several people who have spoken with him.

Asked if they would have their bid in by Monday, Glazer's son, Bryan, told the St. Petersburg Times yesterday: "It's hard to say when that would be. We're working on our own timetable."

Glazer was one of several prospective owners involved in Baltimore's failed effort to obtain an expansion franchise when the NFL added two teams in 1993. If they succeed in buying the Bucs, however, the Glazers say they will keep the team in Tampa.

Story said he also met yesterday with St. Louis beer distributor Jerry Clinton, who helped organize but ultimately dropped out of his city's failed effort to land an expansion team in 1993.

"His [Clinton's] interest in the Buccaneers would involve a relocation to that city," Story said. "This was our second meeting with Mr. Clinton. . . . We will wait and see what develops with Mr. Clinton but he did indicate that he would be forwarding an offer."

The man who succeeded Clinton as head of the St. Louis expansion effort, Missouri-based developer Stan Kroenke, is negotiating to buy a portion of the Rams and move them to St. Louis. Talks between the city and team are reportedly close to a resolution.

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