Greenberg and Ryan, Cuban could bid

Despite reports earlier this week that News Corp. was interested in buying the Texas Rangers, the media giant will be not be submitting a bid for the baseball team, a Fox Sports spokesman confirmed on Tuesday. “There will be no additional comment at this time,” the spokesman said.

The statement comes a day before a bankruptcy court is scheduled to hold an auction for the first place team in the American League West division. A group led by Pittsburgh lawyer Chuck Greenberg and Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan are expected to bid. The two men had already submitted an offer before the team decided to enter bankruptcy. Another bidder could be Mark Cuban, the billionaire owner of the Dallas Mavericks. A third group is being led by Houston businessman Jim Crane. All bids are required to be at least $15 million higher than the $307 million cash portion of the original offer from Greenberg and Ryan.

News Corp.’s initial interest may have been focused on guaranteeing that it would retain the rights to broadcast Rangers games on its Fox Sports Southwest regional sports network. So what better way than to own the team outright? News Corp.’s Fox Sports pays the Rangers $35 million a year in a pact that doesn’t expire for another four years. It is not certain what prompted News Corp. to walk away from a potential bid. The company reports earnings after the market closes today, so Chairman Rupert Murdoch may shed some light on the decision at that time.

News Corp.’s last foray in to Major League Baseball was owning the Los Angeles Dodgers for six years before selling the team in 2004 to real estate honcho Frank McCourt for $430 million.

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