First he lost out to Donald Trump to become the 2016 Republican presidential nominee, and now it appears former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has dropped out of the race to buy the Miami Marlins.
According to an Associated Press report published Tuesday, Bush no longer has interest in trying to become owner of the South Florida baseball club. The report cited a “person close to the negotiations” saying Bush has “ended his pursuit of the team.”
Bush is paired with former Yankee shortstop Derek Jeter in a group that has bid for the Marlins, and the AP report said that Jeter could still pursue an ownership stake “with other investors.” The other main group interested in buying the team from current owner Jeffrey Loria is led by Tagg Romney, the son of 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney. Tagg Romney’s group, which appears to be a frontrunner now, includes Hall of Fame lefty Tom Glavine and former A’s pitcher Dave Stewart.
Earlier this month at the Major League Baseball owners’ meetings in Manhattan, commissioner Rob Manfred said “there are two bidders, at least” vying for ownership of the Marlins and that bidders were “relatively in the same place in terms of price.” But the dynamics appear to have changed. Last week, SportsBusiness Journal’s Daniel Kaplan tweeted that the Romney group had recently reached out to Jeter to try and persuade him to “dump” Bush.
Baseball insiders told the Daily News last week that Romney’s group has become frustrated with the process to the point where it is considering a drop-dead, take-it-or-leave-it offer and a finite window for the offer to be considered. Loria, who bought the team in 2002 for $158 million, is reportedly seeking between $1.1 and $1.3 billion for the club.
David Samson, the Marlins president, did not return a message for comment. Loria could not be reached.