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Ueberroth Might Try for Angels

November 04, 1994|BOB NIGHTENGALE | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Peter Ueberroth, former baseball commissioner, has emerged as one of the leading candidates to become minority owner and managing general partner of the Angels, according to sources familiar with the negotiations.

Angel co-owner Jackie Autry, who suspended talks in September with prospective owners until the baseball strike is settled, would neither confirm nor deny that Ueberroth is a finalist.

"Even if he were, I wouldn't comment on it," Autry said. "It wouldn't be fair to him. To have rumors circulating does not do anybody any good.

"Everything is on hold anyway until we see where the labor dispute goes."

Ueberroth, one of six Angel board members, also has refused to discuss his interest. He was out of town Thursday and unavailable for comment. Recently, he told The Times that he wouldn't comment "until the time is appropriate."

Ueberroth, chief organizer of the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles that earned a $222.7-million profit, might try to buy the club with the assistance of powerful Orange County businessman George Argyros. Argyros, former owner of the Seattle Mariners, reportedly is worth at least $250 million.

"I really have no comment on it," Argyros said. "I love the game, and Gene (Autry) and Jackie have been friends of mine for many years, but the sport is a mess right now. We'll have to see."

Jackie Autry put the club on the market for $130 million last summer. She told prospective buyers that a $30-million down payment is required for 23% of the team, with the rest due within six months of Gene Autry's death. The minority owner would also be responsible for overseeing the club's operations, including all operating costs.

"It's premature for me to speculate what will happen," Autry said. "There are just too many unknowns . . . with the labor situation. Peter has other things to worry about than this right now."

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