CLEVELAND (AP) An investment bank hired by Indians owner Paul Dolan has identified a potential minority partner for the franchise and may be near a deal.

Steve Greenberg, managing director of Allen & Company, a New York-based financial boutique that has brokered sports acquisitions in the past, said Thursday the search has narrowed on a ''small group.'' Greenberg said the hope is the deal would be finished by the end of the year.

Greenberg said a minority owner will ease the financial burden on Dolan and help bring stability to the Indians, who finished 81-80 this season and missed the playoffs for the second straight year.

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The Dolan family has owned the Indians since 1999.