DeNA Co., operator of mobile phone game service "Mobage," has become a strong candidate to buy the Yokohama BayStars professional baseball team from the club's top shareholder, Tokyo Broadcasting System Inc., sources said Oct. 18.
TBS Holdings has tried to sell the team through financial institutions and other avenues for years now to improve its business outlook.. DeNA has presented the highest bid to buy the team, according to the sources.
DeNA was expected to hold a board meeting early next week to decide on buying the team, and a TBS official hinted the game service operator is the prime candidate to own the ballclub next season.
Last year, TBS Holdings and the housing equipment firm JS Group Corp. failed to reach an agreement over the sale of the Central League club because several conditions, including franchise location, were not met.
According to an NPB league agreement, ownership transfer of a team will be approved only if nine or more of the 12 Central League and Pacific League clubs agree with the transaction at an owners’ meeting.
"Perhaps because there is no one else (stepping up to buy the team), there will be nobody (who opposes the sale at the owners’ meeting)," said Yomiuri Giants chairman Tsuneo Watanabe.
The BayStars are currently in last place, 27.5 games behind the CL-champion Chunichi Dragons through Oct. 18.
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