SBD/March 14, 2012/Franchises

MLB Expected To Eliminate Two More Dodgers Bid Groups, Leaving A Field Of Four

Group featuring Magic Johnson reportedly has highest bid for Dodgers at $1.6B
MLB is "expected to reject" two Dodgers bid groups -- one led by Shamrock Holdings President & CEO Stanley Gold and the Disney family, the other led by F1 Grand Prix of America Exec Chair Leo Hindery and Colony Capital Founder, Chair & CEO Tom Barrack -- before "submitting the four remaining bidders to a vote of all 30 owners next week," according to sources cited by Bill Shaikin of the L.A. TIMES. Former Nationals and Braves President Stan Kasten, a partner in one of the remaining groups, yesterday "toured the Dodgers' spring home at Camelback Ranch." Kasten's group includes Guggenheim Partners CEO Mark Walter and Basketball HOFer Magic Johnson. The other remaining bidders are: SAC Capital Advisors Founder and Mets investor Steven Cohen, whose group includes agent Arn Tellem; Rams and Arsenal Owner Stan Kroenke; and a partnership between Grizzlies Owner Michael Heisley and L.A.-based Ares Capital co-Founder & Managing Partner Tony Ressler. Forbes yesterday reported that the Kasten-Johnson bid "is the highest for now, at $1.6 billion, with the other bids each worth at least $1.3 billion." Cohen "offered $1.4 billion, including $900 million in cash" (L.A. TIMES, 3/14). Baseball writer Ross Newhan wondered whether outgoing Dodgers Owner Frank McCourt will "feel compelled -- out of real and/or perceived -- community pressure to select the group fronted by the popular Magic Johnson?" A member of another bid group said, "That is THE question. We are aware that McCourt has spoken to a lot of people in the community to try and get a gauge on what the reaction will be if he doesn't pick Magic -- you know, 'will (people) hate me that much more?'" Newhan noted it is "difficult to believe that the generally despised McCourt would receive anything but a standing ovation no matter who he chooses to replace him in the owner's office," but Johnson's name is "undoubtedly the most famous and familiar among the bidders" (, 3/13).

TOMMY BOY: YAHOO SPORTS' Steve Henson notes one of McCourt's first moves upon purchasing the team was to make Special Assistant Tommy Lasorda "a face of the franchise." A new owner "will be approved by MLB in the next few months," and Lasorda "would love to keep doing what he does." He is "too shrewd to align himself with any one group trying to buy the team." Lasorda said, "I had three or four of the prospective owners call me to ask if I’d be part of their group. I’ve told them all that when one person wins the bid, if he wants me to continue, I’d do it. If he doesn’t, I’ll say adios" (, 3/14). 
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