By Rick Horrow and Karla Swatek
March 29, 2012
Late Tuesday night, the final chapter in the Los Angeles Dodgers quest for new ownership appeared to be written, as the partnership of Lakers legend Magic Johnson, former Braves and Nationals President Stan Kasten, and Guggenheim Partners CEO Mark Walter emerged as the new owners of the franchise, ending months of uncertainty and speculation. The group’s winning bid was reportedly $2 billion, a global record for a sports franchise, including the ballpark and a partnership with outgoing owner Frank McCourt to own and operate the parking lots surrounding the facility.
McCourt chose the Johnson/Kasten/Walters group over fellow finalists Stan Kroenke, owner of the NFL St. Louis Rams (thought to be interested in bringing that franchise to L.A.), and SAC Capital Advisors Founder and Mets investor Steven Cohen and Lakers investor Patrick Soon-Shiong, L.A.’s wealthiest citizen. The sale must be confirmed in a bankruptcy court hearing scheduled for April 13, with the transaction set to close by April 30.
Farther south, the Padres’ own lengthy ownership drama is suddenly unresolved, after Vice Chair and would be majority owner Jeff Moorad last Thursday relinquished the title of CEO and day to day control of the team. Chairman John Moores once again finds himself, at Opening Day, the owner of a team he no longer wants, and it isn’t now clear whether Moorad, the former sports agent, will ever pass muster with the owners whom he once faced across the bargaining table.
So it’s possible that another MLB franchise in Southern CA may once again be for sale – time will tell if one of the Dodgers failed bidders will rise to the baseball bait.