Jeffrey Loria's first investment into major league baseball was US$12 million. Now he's reportedly sold the Miami Marlins for US$1.3 billion ($1.87b).

The 76-year-old owner of the Marlins has reportedly sold the franchise to a group fronted by New York Yankees great Derek Jeter and former Florida governor Jeb Bush.

Most of the details, including, crucially, the identity of Bush and Jeter's investors, remain unknown.

The sale would not be finalised until it is approved by Major League Baseball, a process that could take weeks. But assuming the financing is there, approval would not appear to be a major hurdle for Bush and Jeter, given their connections.


If the reports are true, Bush and Jeter would have won the bidding over at least two other groups, one of which included Tagg Romney, son of 2012 Republic presidential candidate Mitt Romney, and Hall-of-Fame pitcher Tom Glavine.

For Jeter, 42, the purchase of the Marlins would represent the culmination of a process began well before his playing days with the Yankees were over. For at least a decade, he has said he had designs on owning a team after he retired, and we can presume those plans accelerated following his retirement at the end of the 2014 season.

If the sale price of US$1.3 billion is correct, it would represent an astronomical profit for Loria, who turned an initial US$12 million investment into the Montreal Expos into ownership of the Marlins, which he purchased for US$158 million in 2002.

Under Loria, the Marlins won the World Series in 2003, and in 2012 they opened Marlins Park, a US$634 million stadium that was funded largely by the city of Miami and Miami-Dade County, and that will host the MLB All-Star Game this July.

According to the Miami Herald, Bush, 64, would be the new ownership group's point person. The son of President of George H W Bush and the brother of President George W Bush, who is also the former owner of the Texas Rangers, - Bush served as Florida's governor from 1999 to 2007 and resides in Coral Gables, outside of Miami.