05/16/2011 3:14 PM ET
Drayton McLane announces purchase agreement with group headed by Houstonian Jim Crane
Deal Pending Approval of MLB Ownership
HOUSTON, TX - Houston Astros Chairman and CEO Drayton McLane, Jr. has announced that he has reached definitive agreement with a group headed by Houstonian Jim Crane for the sale of the Houston Astros Baseball Club and its share in Comcast Sports Net Houston.
McLane and Crane officially signed the agreement at Minute Maid Park this afternoon. The sale of the ballclub will be finalized once it is approved by Major League Baseball ownership.
"Our family has been proud to be a part of the Astros for the past 19 years," McLane said. "We have had the opportunity to meet so many wonderful fans and experience many special moments."
McLane has owned the Houston Astros since purchasing the club in November of 1992. During his tenure, the Astros have had their most successful run in franchise history, posting the fourth-best record in the National League in that span while making six postseason appearances. In 2005, the Astros won the National League Championship, and on October 25 of that season, played host to the first World Series game ever played in the state of Texas. Prior to 1993, Houston had just three playoff appearances in the first 31 seasons of the franchise (1962-92).
During his tenure, McLane also succeeded in leaving an indelible mark on the city of Houston with the construction of Minute Maid Park, which opened in April of 2000. The new ballpark greatly increased the development of the surrounding Houston downtown area. During the ballpark's first 11 seasons, more than 30 million fans attended Astros games.
Throughout their ownership of the Astros, Drayton and wife Elizabeth McLane have donated more than $30 million in charitable contributions, including over $7.0 million through the Astros in Action Foundation, which was formed in 2000 to serve Houston and its surrounding communities.
Steve Greenberg of Allen & Company represented the Astros in the sale of the team. The Astros legal team was headed by John Keffer, a partner at King & Spalding.
Crane is a Houston businessman and former standout college baseball player who is leading a high-quality, mostly local group of investors in acquiring the team.
"We worked long and hard to get a baseball team, and will work even harder to win a World Series for our hometown," Crane said. "Thank you to Drayton and my partners for making this day possible."
The other principal investors include John Havens, Bill Morgan, Doug Bauer, John Hauck & TSI Holding Company, Greg Allen & family, Neil Kelley & Partners, Will Galtney & Jeff Hines, John Eddie Williams & Cary Patterson and Milton Carroll & Partners.
Currently, Crane is CEO and President of Crane Capital Group, Inc., and is the owner of Champion Energy Services, which ranks in the top five of nonutility-affiliated retail electric providers in the United States and among the top 20 retail electricity companies in the nation. In August of 2008, Crane formed Crane Worldwide Logistics (CWL), a premier provider of customized transportation and logistics services. CWL has and continues to grow rapidly with experienced members of Crane's management team and sales force at the helm. The three-year-old company will do in excess of $400 million in sales in 2011.
Crane was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri, and is a 1976 graduate of Central Missouri State University, where he was an outstanding, record-setting pitcher. He moved to Houston in 1982, where he entered the freight forwarding business. In March of 1984, Crane founded Eagle USA Airfreight (EGL, Inc.), which he would eventually build into an organization of more than 10,000 employees with 400-plus facilities in 139 countries. EGL was named one of Houston's "Best Places to Work" and reached #599 on the Fortune 1000 list during Crane's tenure.
In addition to his love of baseball, Crane is an avid golfer. In 2006, his .08 handicap earned him the number one CEO Golfer ranking by Golf Digest. Crane acquired the Floridian, a private golf resort in Palm City, FL, in 2010.