Wall Street's Battle for Derek Jeter -- and His Wallet

Wall Street is battling for the heart, soul and wallet of former Yankee’s great Derek Jeter.

The recently retired Yankee superstar -- who is worth an estimated $200 million -- is being courted by two of the financial business' biggest firms, Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) and Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS), not only as a brokerage client to manage his enormous net worth, but also to serve as an investment banker to finance Jeter’s business ventures, including his dream of purchasing a major league baseball team, the FOX Business Network has learned. According to news reports, Jeter has also expressed interest in possibly buying a football team.

Either way, both firms also see big bucks in other potential Jeter enterprises including his website, The Players’ Tribune, where athletes provide first-person accounts of their lives and careers, people with knowledge of the matter say. Jeter spoke at a Goldman Sachs technology conference in November last year, and just weeks later, he addressed some of Morgan Stanley’s top brokers.

The Wall Street wooing of Jeter was center stage Wednesday night, when the former short stop was spotted having dinner with Morgan Stanley executive Harold Ford Jr. at the swanky Hunt & Fish Club in midtown Manhattan. Ford, a former Tennessee congressman and television commentator, is a managing director at Morgan Stanley whose job it is to entice major clients into doing business with the firm’s investment bank and wealth management or brokerage unit.

People close to Morgan Stanley say Ford has been instrumental in maintaining the firm’s relationship with Jeter. A Morgan Stanley spokesman wouldn’t deny that Morgan has a business relationship with the former Yankee superstar, adding that the two “are friends so it wouldn’t be surprising they were having dinner.”

Jeter didn’t return a telephone call for comment, but Morgan Stanley isn’t the only major firm looking to cash in on Jeter’s post-Yankee career. Jeter also has tries to Wall Street bank Goldman Sachs, which uses its President Gary Cohn as the point-man on the firm’s relationship with Jeter Inc., these people say.

Goldman has one of the best investment banking franchises with a focus on sports, and may have a leg up on Morgan Stanley based on its dealings with Jeter. The firm, for example, has served as an investment banker to his former team, the Yankees and its YES television network. Meanwhile, Goldman has partnered with the Yankees in a business that includes running stadium concessions for the Dallas Cowboys as well as at Yankee Stadium.

Like Morgan Stanley, Goldman is looking to forge a relationship with Jeter both for its investment banking department and for its own brokerage unit, which deals primarily with high-net worth clients, people close to the firm say.

A Goldman spokesman declined to comment, but wouldn’t deny the activity.

Since leaving the Yankees last season, Jeter has told Wall Street executives that he would like to own an MLB team, a move that has set off a frenzy of investment banking discussions about how to best finance such a deal. Even with his substantial net worth, Jeter would still need partners and would have to borrow money since Major League Baseball teams cost between $1 billion and $2 billion.

But bankers tell FOX Business that the financing wouldn’t be Jeter’s biggest obstacle in buying a team; the problem Jeter faces involves the scarcity of teams for sale. Late last year, it was speculated that Jeter might be able to bid on the Florida Marlins, but baseball executives say that such a deal is unlikely.

In the meantime, investment bankers are wooing Jeter to manage his savings, and looking to finance other projects such as the Players’ Tribune.

“Jeter is a such a hot commodity for Wall Street because of his stature and because he saved his money,” one banker told FOX Business.