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State auctioning 'lost' Indianapolis Indians stock

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Want a piece of the Indianapolis Indians? It will cost you, to the tune of at least $25,000.

Shares of the minor-league baseball team are difficult to come by—only 755 are outstanding, with nearly 40 percent owned by team Chairman Max Schumacher.  

And until late last year, the team's board of directors had been snapping up the stock and retiring it in a buy-back offer to give stockholders a larger piece of ownership.

Now, eight shares have become available through an unconventional outlet—the Indiana Attorney General’s Unclaimed Property Division.

Indians management turned the shares over to the state to sell after spending years trying to locate the rightful owners. According to state law, property is considered unclaimed when the owner of an asset cannot be found.

“That’s what became difficult for us,” said Bruce Schumacher, the team’s director of special projects. “There was just no way to find them, and we had tried.”

The state is selling the shares at a minimum price of $25,000 each, and sealed bids must be received by 1:30 p.m. on May 31. The Unclaimed Property Division will review offers on June 2 and notify successful bidders within the following two days. Payment is due by end of day June 9.

Owners of any shares sold by the state who ultimately might be located will receive the amount for which the shares sell. In the meantime, the money will be held in the state’s unclaimed property fund.  

“We don’t hold securities,” said Molly Butters, spokeswoman for the Attorney General’s office. “We liquidate them and hold it in the name of the claimant.”

Indians shares sell so infrequently that it’s difficult to put a proper value on them, said Robert Briles, a vice president at the Indianapolis office of Chicago-based David A. Noyes & Co. The investment firm has brokered the stock.

Only one share has changed hands in the past six months, and that sale occurred in December, for exactly $25,000.

“In that sense,” Briles said, “the state is proper in willing to sell the shares for what they last traded at.”

The $25,000 price, however, is higher than what the team had been willing to give.

The Indians had been offering $21,328 per share, using a formula based on annual earnings to value the team. That formula was supplied by National City Bank. The shares bought back by the team are retired, giving the remaining stockholders a bigger piece of the ownership pie.

But a swooning stock market and declines in ticket sales, concession revenue, suite rental and advertising income prompted the team to indefinitely discontinue its traditional buy-back offer on Dec. 31.

Indians profits declined from $1.23 million in 2008 to $459,603 last year. Despite the drop, the team’s board voted unanimously to give a $250 dividend for each of the outstanding shares. That’s down from $350 last year.

The team began selling shares to the public in 1956, when 6,672 people paid $10 per share and bought 24,488 shares of stock in the city's struggling minor-league baseball team. The move was designed to take the money-losing team off the hands of its owner, the Cleveland Indians, and keep it in Indianapolis.

The Indians, now the Class AAA affiliate for the Pittsburgh Pirates, are valued at about $20 million by Baseball America magazine.

The listed owners of the unclaimed shares can be found here.
 

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  1. Cramer agrees...says don't buy it and sell it if you own it! Their "pay to play" cost is this issue. As long as they charge customers, they never will attain the critical mass needed to be a successful on company...Jim Cramer quote.

  2. My responses to some of the comments would include the following: 1. Our offer which included the forgiveness of debt (this is an immediate forgiveness and is not "spread over many years")represents debt that due to a reduction of interest rates in the economy arguably represents consideration together with the cash component of our offer that exceeds the $2.1 million apparently offered by another party. 2. The previous $2.1 million cash offer that was turned down by the CRC would have netted the CRC substantially less than $2.1 million. As a result even in hindsight the CRC was wise in turning down that offer. 3. With regard to "concerned Carmelite's" discussion of the previous financing Pedcor gave up $16.5 million in City debt in addition to the conveyance of the garage (appraised at $13 million)in exchange for the $22.5 million cash and debt obligations. The local media never discussed the $16.5 million in debt that we gave up which would show that we gave $29.5 million in value for the $23.5 million. 4.Pedcor would have been much happier if Brian was still operating his Deli and only made this offer as we believe that we can redevelop the building into something that will be better for the City and City Center where both Pedcor the citizens of Carmel have a large investment. Bruce Cordingley, President, Pedcor

  3. I've been looking for news on Corner Bakery, too, but there doesn't seem to be any info out there. I prefer them over Panera and Paradise so can't wait to see where they'll be!

  4. WGN actually is two channels: 1. WGN Chicago, seen only in Chicago (and parts of Canada) - this station is one of the flagship CW affiliates. 2. WGN America - a nationwide cable channel that doesn't carry any CW programming, and doesn't have local affiliates. (In addition, as WGN is owned by Tribune, just like WTTV, WTTK, and WXIN, I can't imagine they would do anything to help WISH.) In Indianapolis, CW programming is already seen on WTTV 4 and WTTK 29, and when CBS takes over those stations' main channels, the CW will move to a sub channel, such as 4.2 or 4.3 and 29.2 or 29.3. TBS is only a cable channel these days and does not affiliate with local stations. WISH could move the MyNetwork affiliation from WNDY 23 to WISH 8, but I am beginning to think they may prefer to put together their own lineup of syndicated programming instead. While much of it would be "reruns" from broadcast or cable, that's pretty much what the MyNetwork does these days anyway. So since WISH has the choice, they may want to customize their lineup by choosing programs that they feel will garner better ratings in this market.

  5. The Pedcor debt is from the CRC paying ~$23M for the Pedcor's parking garage at City Center that is apprased at $13M. Why did we pay over the top money for a private businesses parking? What did we get out of it? Pedcor got free parking for their apartment and business tenants. Pedcor now gets another building for free that taxpayers have ~$3M tied up in. This is NOT a win win for taxpayers. It is just a win for Pedcor who contributes heavily to the Friends of Jim Brainard. The campaign reports are on the Hamilton County website. http://www2.hamiltoncounty.in.gov/publicdocs/Campaign%20Finance%20Images/defaultfiles.asp?ARG1=Campaign Finance Images&ARG2=/Brainard, Jim

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