The Los Angeles Dodgers, one of Major League Baseball’s most-storied franchises, will have itself a new owner or owners by the end of April. The bidding process for the baseball franchise and the famous Dodger Stadium began on Jan 23 with the sale be managed by a company called Blackstone Advisory Partners. The U.S. Bankruptcy Court is also overseeing the sale of the ball team and stadium.
So far, it’s been reported that over 25 different interested groups have received the club’s confidential financial information to review. Frank McCourt, the Dodgers current owner who placed the franchise in bankruptcy protection in June 2011, will work closely with Blackstone and they will present the assortment of bids to Major League Baseball. MLB will then go through all of the bids and bidders and will approve up to 10 of them.
Out of those 10, McCourt will be able to choose what he feels is the highest and best bid by April 1. He must then notify the bankruptcy court no later than April 6 with the closing date of the sale being set for no later than April 30. Ironically, April 30 is also the day that McCourt is scheduled to pay Jamie McCourt, his ex-wife, a total of $131 million as a settlement to their recent divorce. The Dodgers recently announced in court that the franchise is $573 million in debt.
It’s believed that the franchise and stadium could fetch as much as $1.5 billion or perhaps even more, which would be a record sale for a MLB club. If it sold for that price then all of the creditors would be able to be paid in full. McCourt originally paid $431 million for the franchise back in 2004. However, according to the rules of the sale, neither McCourt nor any of his relatives will be allowed to keep any financial interest in the team either indirectly or directly. The parking lots at the stadium aren’t included in the sale price, but they can be purchased separately or negotiated into the final bid.
The sale of the Dodgers has attracted quite a bit of interest from a wide variety of people. Some of them have confirmed their interest in the club and others have just been rumored. It’s believed that some of the bidders include broadcasting giants Comcast, Time Warner, and Fox and Comcast; Peter O’Malley, the Dodgers former owner; former baseball manager Joe Torre; former basketball star Magic Johnson and partners; Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban; former baseball players Orel Hershiser and Steve Garvey and their business partners, and several other business and real estate investors, owners, and groups.
It’s also been rumored that the Dodgers could make a run at signing free agent Prince Fielder from the Milwaukee Brewers. He’s looking for about $200 million in a long-term contract, but the Dodgers aren’t willing to lay out that kind of cash before the team is sold as it could affect the sale process. However, depending on the bidders and if they agree to it, Fielder could possibly be signed or at least offered a contract.