On this date in 2000, Major League Baseball owners approved the sale of the Kansas City Royals to David Glass. It cost Glass $96 million. A couple of weeks ago, Forbes estimated the value of the Royals to be at $457 million.
Not a bad return on investment.
In November 1998, the Royals board accepted a $75 million bid from Miles Prentice. Prentice didn't have the capital on his own and enlisted several local luminaries as investors. The sheer number of investors was perhaps one reason Bud Selig convinced owners to turn their collective thumb down to the Prentice bid. It only took MLB nine months to give the boot to the Prentice group.
WIth Prentice out of the picture, Glass returned to the front of the line. He had been involved with the club as chairman since the death of Ewing Kauffman in August of 1993. Glass had been considered a favorite to purchase the team, but had previously withdrawn when he feared Kansas City did not support his potential ownership. With the Prentice bid DOA and with no other serious ownership group in the wings* Glass saw his opportunity.
*Remember Lamar Hunt and Western Resources teamed up to make a bid. The Royals board had set a minimum asking price of $75 million. Fair value at the time with the knowledge that proceeds of the sale would go to various Kansas City charities, as stipulated by Kauffman. That the Hunt group bid only in the neighborhood of $50 million was an insult.
Reports from the owner's meeting to approve the sale indicate it took 40 seconds to rubber-stamp the Glass bid. Glass sold two million shares of Wal-Mart to raise the capital for the purchase.
"I know Ewing Kauffman wanted me to wind up owning the team. He told me that more than once," Glass told the AP.
That's a statement that makes me wonder.
Glass was also asked about returning the team to contention. It had been 15 years since the last post season appearance.
"I think it (contention) can be done fairly rapidly."
Don't laugh. A lot of things take at least 13 years.