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Rangers Sale Back on Track After Buyer’s Opposition

June 25 (Bloomberg) -- The Texas Rangers bankruptcy judge reversed a decision to postpone consideration of the team’s proposed sale, agreeing to the original timeline after the buyer opposed the delay.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge D. Michael Lynn in Fort Worth, Texas, said today he would grant a request from a group led by Chuck Greenberg and team president Nolan Ryan to consider approving the sale at a July 9 hearing.

The decision came one day after the judge postponed the hearing to July 22 and ordered further mediation involving the Rangers, Major League Baseball and the team’s lenders, which oppose the sale.

Lynn warned that there is a “real risk” he won’t approve the Rangers’ bankruptcy plan, which is based on the sale.

“If you don’t get it confirmed, you guys -- not me, you guys -- decided to push for a decision on July 9, and you’re going to live with whatever decision I reach,” he said.

In an interview after the hearing, Greenberg said he was pleased with the decision to move the confirmation hearing to July 9.

Greenberg and Ryan’s company, Rangers Baseball Express LLC, asked Lynn to reconsider the later date, arguing the delay would hurt the team, particularly with Major League Baseball’s July 31 deadline to make player trades.

Prepared for Outcome

“We’re prepared for the plan to stand or fall on its merits,” he said.

The lenders, a group that includes hedge funds, oppose the $575 million deal and have called for the Rangers to run a competitive sale process as part of its bankruptcy case.

Greenberg, an attorney and minor-league club owner, criticized the lenders for delaying the sale, saying it hurt the team’s creditors.

“Right now, there are a lot of mom-and-pop businesses whose finances are in jeopardy because a bunch of guys on Wall Street are serving their own narrow interests,” Greenberg said.

Adam McGill, a spokesman for a lender group that includes Monarch Alternative Capital, didn’t respond to an e-mail seeking comment. Rangers spokesman Mark Semer declined to comment on the judge’s decision.

The case is In re Texas Rangers Baseball Partners, 10-43400, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Northern District of Texas (Fort Worth).

To contact the reporters on this story: David McLaughlin in New York at dmclaughlin9@bloomberg.net; Thomas Korosec in Fort Worth, Texas, at tkorosec@sbcglobal.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: David E. Rovella at drovella@bloomberg.net.

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