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Taft agrees to sell Phillies' interest

By JOE B. WARRICK

PHILADELPHIA -- Taft Broadcasting Co. said Monday it will sell its share in the Philadelphia Phillies baseball team to an investment group headed by Phillies president Bill Giles for $24.1 million.

Taft's 47.5 interest in the franchise will give the Giles group 100 percent ownership of the team, according to Taft executives at the company's headquarters in Cincinnati.

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Owners of the 25 other major-league baseball teams must now approve the deal.

Giles, whose personal share of the team would increase from about 10 percent to 19.5 percent, said the transaction would have no effect on the operation of the Phillies.

Giles said last week that he would remain general partner 'and the others would remain limited partners as it is presently constructed.'

'It's not going to change anything,' said Phillies spokesman Larry Shenk. 'He (Giles) was in charge before and he is in charge now. He just has a little bigger part of the pie now.'

Shenk added that Giles was 'pleased that the rest of the partners were able to purchase it, rather than having to go outside and get someone else.'

Taft board chairman Charles Mechem Jr. said the company's decision to sell the team followed logically from the recent sale of their Philadelphia-based television station, WTAF-TV, which broadcasts Phillies games.

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'While the decision to sell our Phillies part-interest makes obvious financial sense, it also ends one of the happiest business associations we've ever had,' Mechem said.

He said Taft's dealings with Giles and the Phillies since the company bought a minority interest in 1981 'have always been harmonious.'

'The Phillies' owners and management are first-rate baseball executives, combining shrewd business acumen with a genuine love of the game,' Mechem said. 'We wish them well, and we shall miss our close association with them.'

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