Could Texas Family Save Expos?

MONTREAL (CP) -- A Texan family is rumoured to be willing to invest millions of dollars to keep the Expos baseball team in Montreal, Radio-Canada reported Saturday.

A Montreal business group claims to have discovered the mysterious investors, who hope to become majority shareholders in the club, according to the report aired on the French-language arm of CBC-TV. The investors also want to have a new stadium constructed in downtown Montreal without government funding, the report said.

Montreal Mayor Pierre Bourque left Saturday for Texas with a delegation from the Groupe Vaugeois to convince the investors to step forward.
Bourque refused to identify the potential investors. "It's confidential," he said. "Because sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn't."
Groupe Vaugeois, a business group that has brought several multimedia ventures to Montreal, has been in contact with the family for some time.
"We have spoken to those people," group spokesman Luc Berlinguet said Saturday in a Radio-Canada interview. "They're interested. ... I can say they have the money to do it. Money is not a problem."

Potential investors must hurry because major league baseball refused Friday to extend its March 6 deadline for a new consortium to put forward a plan to finance the construction of a new stadium. If no investors are found the club may be sold and will likely move to another North American city.

Berlinguet said the Texas investors have indicated interest in constructing a stadium downtown without government financing, by selling shares.
"Selling shares to the public interests these investors who believe that the support of the public in smaller markets could compensate for the fact that you aren't in New York or Chicago," he said. Other teams who have been supported by such a move include baseball's Cleveland Indians and the Green Bay Packers of the National Football League.
Berlinguet says he isn't worried that without government financing for the new stadium the investors will not feel obligated to formally promise to keep the club in Montreal for the long term. "If they're interested in building a new stadium, we understand they aren't going to move the club the following year," he said.



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