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L.A. TIMES REPORTS THAT MURDOCH/MALONE HAVE DEAL ON DODGERS
Published September 30, 1997
In response to reports that TCI's Liberty Media holds an option to participate in News Corp.'s deal for the Dodgers, the Fox Group and TCI issued a joint statement yesterday: "The Fox Group is the sole entity acquiring the Dodgers. ... The Fox Group is under no obligation to offer a participatory role in the Dodgers to any other party. Nonetheless, the Fox Group, as is the right of any [MLB] franchise owner, may explore the possibility of inviting partners to participate in the Dodgers after the conclusion of the purchase" (Fox). In L.A., Hofmeister & Newhan report that MLB owners "were taken aback" Monday by the prospect that News Corp. Chair Rupert Murdoch "hadn't fully disclosed his plans to finance the purchaser and in effect has a partner waiting in the wings. Two sources said Monday that Murdoch and [TCI Chair] John Malone ... already have an understanding that they will own the team as a partnership." One "top-ranking" MLB official: "You're damn right we're concerned and want to know more about it. This is not what they were talking about." A source close to News Corp. said that Murdoch "is eager to have Liberty as a partner to help finance the deal." While Hofmeister & Newhan note "some investors aren't convinced that it makes sense for Liberty to invest in the Dodgers," sources close to Malone see "an international value" to owning the team (L.A. TIMES, 9/30). RESPONSE: Liberty VP/Investor Relations Vivian Carr: "In some circumstances we have the right to participate in a deal. But in any case, the question is moot because News Corp. has not even completed the deal" (N.Y. TIMES, 9/30).