WisBusiness: Brewers Reportedly Sold; Admirals Might be Close
By Gregg Hoffmann
While no official announcement has been made, Mark Attanasio, a Los Angeles investor, looks to be the new owner of the Milwaukee Brewers.
The Milwaukee Admirals could follow suit with an announcement of a sale later this week.
All inquiries about the sales of the Brewers and Admirals are being referred to other parties, almost a sure sign that deals are close to happening.
The Brewers are referring calls about their sale to Steve Greenberg of Allen & Company, the New York firm handling the transaction. The Admirals are referring all calls to Bill Stewart, the Denver investor thought to be the potential buyer of that hockey franchise.
But, sources within baseball were reporting Monday afternoon that the Brewers board decided last Thursday to accept Attanasio’s bid for the team. Greenberg was not available for comment Monday afternoon. Stewart said via phone he might have more news about the Admirals’ deal by Wednesday.
Dan Gilbert, the Michigan businessman who had been a leading bidder for the Brewers, issued a statement Monday morning saying he was out of the race to buy the team and the Brewers’ board had decided to sell to an undisclosed party.
Speculation is that party is headed by Attanasio, but a third party, New York lawyer Miles Prentice, has surfaced. Unlike Gilbert and Attanasio, Prentice has been in the baseball business.
He owned the Huntsville AA team and has been involved in other minor league franchises. Huntsville has been the AA affiliate of the Brewers.
Fran Croak, who serves as governor of the Admirals and on the board of the Brewers, said he could not comment on either sale. He referred inquiries to Stewart for the Admirals and declined to comment at all about the Brewers.
Stewart is a former minor league hockey player and a Denver stockbroker who has been involved with a Central Hockey League team in Colorado. He said Monday he could not comment until later in the week.
Gilbert, the owner of Quicken Loans, said that negotiations between him and the Brewers were terminated last Thursday "and there is no longer any valid offer outstanding by Mr. Gilbert to purchase the team."
"I am deeply disappointed that the Brewers have chosen another direction in the sale of the club. After nearly eight long months of negotiations, I believed we were on the verge of announcing a deal when I was informed of the Brewers decision to sell the team to another party. During this time I have come to know the passion, loyalty and dedication the fans in Milwaukee have for the Brewers. I will always be grateful for the many e-mails and letters I received encouraging me to purchase the team during this process. It is truly one of the great sports towns in America.
"I also want to wish the entire current ownership team of the Brewers and the eventual new owner(s) of the franchise the best of luck in concluding their transaction and hopefully delivering to Milwaukee the competitive team their fans and city deserve. I believe the seeds for a positive future have been put in place and the potential for bright days ahead is real."
If Attanasio’s bid has been accepted, the proposed deal will have to be approved by Major League Baseball owners. That might not happen until after the World Series.
There also has been some speculation, after an ESPN report during a recent televised game, that the Miller Park stadium district board also might have some say in any transaction. But, Laurel Prieb, Brewers’ executive, said last week that point was moot because the lease for Miller Park is “ironclad” and MLB owners would not allow a move from Milwaukee. Bud Selig, longtime owner of the Brewers, served as commissioner of baseball.