SBD/January 19, 2012/Franchises

Transfer of Padres Ownership Remains Unresolved As Questions Persist

Those opposed to Moorad’s ownership may not have required eight votes to block sale
The Padres are a "puzzle with at least one of the pieces missing," according to Tim Sullivan of the SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE. If there is a money problem with team Vice Chair & CEO Jeff Moorad’s ownership group, it "should have surfaced before his final payment reached the escrow account last month." If there is a "personality conflict in play, it should have played itself out somewhat earlier in a process now in its third year" as he seeks to buy the team from Padres Chair John Moores. As a result, "what you get is intrigue." D'Backs Managing Partner Ken Kendrick has been "described by another major-league executive as 'obsessed' with blocking Moorad from gaining complete control of the Padres." Asked to confirm that he had "drafted a letter opposing Moorad’s confirmation on Wednesday, Kendrick declined comment." When told he had been "characterized as 'obsessed' with thwarting Moorad," Kendrick replied, "I don’t think I have obsessions in the context of what we’re talking about." He added, "Anything I would have to say, I would say to baseball." Though Moorad has "repeatedly placed the net worth of his partnership above $4 billion, enough questions linger about its liquidity and the specifics of its commitment that Padres’ stability remains a moving target." Those "opposed to Moorad’s ownership may not have the eight votes necessary to prevent him from becoming the Padres’ 'control' person." But an ownership transition that "appeared inevitable 10 days ago should now be reclassified as 'probable.'" At least one investor in another NL club has "expressed interest in pursuing the Padres should the Moorad deal collapse." Since his group’s final payment to Moores is "completely in cash and already in escrow, Moorad’s confirmation still seems the most likely scenario." Kendrick said, "We probably all are a little more sensitive to the importance of ownership and the quality of ownership and the depth of its financial (strength). I think baseball is being more careful in the process. Look at the situation in Los Angeles as a reason why you’d want to be cautious with any ownership" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 1/19).
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