Fund Managers Challenge Emmis Bid For Washington Nationals
March 13, 2006 at 5:52 AM (PT)
A pair of MILWAUKEE-based fund managers who own a combined 4.3% of EMMIS COMMUNICATIONS are objecting to the company's bid to buy the WASHINGTON NATIONALS.
The MILWAUKEE JOURNAL-SENTINEL reports that BROADVIEW ADVISORS LLC President and FMI FOCUS FUND Manager RICHARD LANE and KITZINGER LAUTMANN CAPITAL MANAGEMENT principal PETER LAUTMANN want EMMIS to stick to broadcasting, with LANE calling the deal "a lose-lose situation for MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL and EMMIS' shareholders." LANE and LAUTMANN charge that EMMIS' JEFF SMULYAN doesn't have enough money of his own to make the bid and is using EMMIS money instead.
SMULYAN questioned the timing of the pair's FEBRUARY letter to baseball Commissioner BUD SELIG and said "I might as well be blunt about it. A friend of mine in WASHINGTON said it looks like a lot of games are being played by the bidders - dirty tricks in WASHINGTON." He added that he thinks that "there is so much upside" in investing in the team and that "with our marketing and our experience, we can increase attendance. We know the TV business, and we would inherit ownership of a cable network (MASN). Our Internet people have studied MLB.com and believe there is a tremendous opportunity there."