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Toronto Argonauts sold for $4.7 million

TORONTO, May 5 -- Bruce McNall sold the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League on Thursday to Canada's cable sports network and Labatts Breweries for $4.7 million.

The Sports Network (TSN) and Labatts bought the team from McNall and minority owners Wayne Gretzky and the estate of late actor John Candy.

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McNall, who just sold a 72 percent interest in his National Hockey League Los Angeles Kings, and Gretzky were reportedly anxious to sell after losing $14.5 million on the team. The Argos 1993-94 record of 3-15 was the worst in the CFL.

McNall is under investigation by federal authorities for allegedly falsifying loan documents. The proceeds from the sale of the Kings and Argos will reportedly go to Bank of America to help settle a $92 million debt McNall owes.

The Toronto Blue Jays have been put in charge of running the team, with Blue Jays President Paul Beeston also serving as the Argos president.

Beeston, 49, signed on as the Blue Jays first employee in 1976, and is credited with building them into one of the most successful franchises in professional sports. Labatts Breweries also owns the Blue Jays.

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Ron Barbaro, who had been president of the Argos since September 1993, has resigned. Bob O'Billovich is expected to remain as general manager and head coach.

TSN officials said the idea of bringing in the Blue Jays management team was to use their extensive marketing and financial resources to revive spectator interest in Toronto's footballteam.

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