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Marlins Sale May Be Off Again

September 27, 1998

MIAMI (AP) _ John Henry says his handshake deal to buy the Florida Marlins from H. Wayne Huizenga may be in jeopardy.

The Boca Raton money manager said Huizenga has made two new demands in the negotiations and has suggested to Henry the $150 million deal might be called off if Henry doesn’t compromise, the Sun-Sentinel of Fort Lauderdale and The Miami Herald reported Sunday.

He said Huizenga’s negotiators were changing the terms of a handshake deal reached Sept. 1.

``They’re now saying that it may not be in their best interests to sell the team,″ Henry said Saturday. ``This is the first time they’ve said that.″

Huizenga’s people denied the deal was in peril.

``But I no longer feel they are 100 percent committed to getting a deal done,″ Henry said. ``I’m not going to back away from this. The only question is whether they are going to back out.″

Huizenga Holdings president Rick Rochon, who is negotiating with Henry, would not discuss Henry’s comments. He said through a spokesman the deal is not in jeopardy.

Henry said Huizenga’s company suggested the team might be asked to leave Pro Player Stadium before next season if Henry doesn’t agree to contribute millions toward upgrades of the stadium.

``There’s the Orange Bowl and the stadium in Homestead, but I don’t know if they are realistic options,″ Henry said. ``I would not buy the team and move it out of South Florida before a new stadium is built here.″

Henry declined to say what Huizenga’s other new demand was, but he said it involved ``an eight-figure″ payment.

Marlins general manager Dave Dombrowski, who recently signed a $5 million, five-year contract, said he has received assurances from Huizenga the team will be sold to Henry.

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