L.A Dodgers Secure Record Breaking Ownership Deal

By iSportconnect | March 28, 2012

MLB’s The Los Angeles Dodgers and owner Frank McCourt have announced a deal to sell the team for a record $2 billion to Earvin “Magic” Johnson’s sports group Guggenheim Baseball Management LLC.

As part of the deal, which could help the club emerge from bankruptcy, McCourt and certain affiliates of the buyers also plan to form a joint venture to acquire Dodger Stadium and the surrounding Chavez Ravine property for $150 million, the team and Guggenheim Baseball said in a statement.

The announcement came hours after Major League Baseball owners, according to sources, had approved three bidders for an auction of the team that was expected to start Wednesday morning in New York and produce a record bid of around $1.5 billion for the famed franchise.

One of those three finalists, the sources said, was the Guggenheim group.

But the deal announced Tuesday may not end protracted wrangling over control of the storied franchise, said sports industry consultant Marc Ganis, president of the Chicago-based firm Sportscorps, which is not involved in the deal.

“This was a pre-emptive bid to keep out bidders who may be better capitalized,” Ganis told Reuters. “That means the auction may have been breached, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see one or more bidders object.”

In addition to “Magic” Johnson, the purchasing group includes Mark Walter, CEO of investment bank Guggenheim Capital, as its controlling partner, along with former Hollywood studio executive Peter Guber, former Washington Nationals baseball team president Stan Kasten and Guggenheim Partners President Todd Boehly, the Dodgers said.

“I am thrilled to be part of the historic Dodger franchise and intend to build on the fantastic foundation laid by Frank McCourt as we drive the Dodgers back to the front page of the sports section of our wonderful community of Los Angeles,” Johnson, 52, said in a statement.

The former Los Angeles Lakers star runs Magic Johnston Enterprises, which controls a chain of movie theaters and other properties around the Los Angeles area.

The $2 billion price tag would mark the largest sum ever made for a major league U.S. sport franchise.