Royals Bid Rejected


Miles Prentice's $75 million bid to purchase the Kansas City Royals was rejected by baseball on Wednesday.

Baseball owners voted 29-1 in September to table the bid, saying the wanted the team to pursue other alternatives. On Tuesday, Prentice asked the Royals to ask the commissioner's office for specific objections.

Robert DuPuy, baseball's chief legal officer, responded with a letter to the Royals late Wednesday.

"I spoke with Mr. Prentice this afternoon," DuPuy said, "and told him that based on the opinions of the ownership committee and the commissioner, he would not be approved as the control person, that we appreciate his efforts and his enthusiasm for the Royals and baseball, and that I was sending a letter to the board advising them of that."

Prentice, a New York lawyer who had purchased a condominium in Kansas City with the hope he would take over the team, had said Tuesday he was worried baseball's decision was "a fait accompli." Baseball officials have said since May that Prentice's group of 40-plus investors was too large and that it did not have enough money to successfully operate the franchise.

"We're sad tonight for Miles, for him and his whole family," Royals president Mike Herman said.

The Royals said the sale process will be reopened and will continue to be managed by J.P. Morgan, a New York investment banking firm.

"The Royals board would like to extend our appreciation and admiration to Miles and his investor group for how they have handled themselves throughout this difficult process," Herman said. "They made a substantial offer for the ballclub and worked well with the board."

Prentice did not attend the news conference Wednesday night. The minimum purchase price for the team will remain at $75 million, Herman said.

"We advised the board that we look forward to continuing to work with them to speedily find a way to keep baseball in Kansas City, which is a primary objective," DuPuy said.

Commissioner Bud Selig declined comment, referring the matter to DuPuy.

"Now that major league baseball has made a decision," Herman added, "we need to reopen the process and continue towards our objective which is to insure that our team stays in Kansas City and we get the maximum value for charity."

Before his death in 1993, founding owner Ewing Kauffman directed that the team be sold to a buyer who would promise to keep it in Kansas City, and that money from the sale be used to fund charities in the Kansas City area.

"It's time to move the process forward again" Herman said. "We felt an obligation to Miles and his group to see his bid through to approval or rejection."

The announcement came a day after Royals outfielder Carlos Beltran's near-unanimous selection as American League Rookie of the Year.

"There's nothing wrong with baseball in Kansas City," Herman said. "The problem is in finding a buyer who's acceptable to the ownership committee and to the commissioner."

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