SBD/August 30, 2012/Franchises

Padres Ownership Officially Transferred; Will Include First Mexican Investor In An MLB Club

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The Padres yesterday announced the completion of the sale of the franchise to the ownership group comprised of the Seidler/O'Malley families and Ron Fowler for $800M from John Moores. The Padres' new ownership group includes Fowler as control person, Peter O'Malley's sons, Kevin and Brian O'Malley, and his nephews, Peter and Tom Seidler. Investor Alfredo Harp Helú is believed to be the only member of any MLB ownership group who is a citizen of Mexico. Tom Garfinkel has been named President & CEO and Josh Byrnes will remain as Exec VP & GM (Padres).

PADRES NEW OWNERSHIP GROUP
Ron Fowler (control person) Alexis Fowler
Kevin O'Malley Patrick Graham
Brian O'Malley Alfredo Harp Helú
Peter Seidler Harvey Jabara
Tom Seidler Lee Ross
Rick Barry Wayne Seltzer
Glenn Doshay  
   

DEAL DETAILS: Fowler said the new ownership group takes over with three key criteria: “Continuity, consistency, community.” But in San Diego, Bill Center notes “few specifics were discussed about how the new ownership group is comprised or what the Padres might do moving forward.” Questions about “future payroll, the continuing impasse in the television distribution, possible changes to Petco Park and even the composition of the ownership group were answered in generalities.” Still, Center writes the “heirs to the O’Malley Dodgers legacy -- Walter’s grandsons Peter and Tom Seidler and Kevin and Brian O’Malley -- are, as Fowler described them, ‘the primary owners’ among a group of a dozen owners that includes eight members of the minority faction that previously owned 49.32 percent of the Padres.” Golfer Phil Mickelson “wasn’t among the owners identified Wednesday.” But Peter Seidler said, “We have a spot for Phil.” He added that he “expects to meet with Mickelson within the next couple of weeks.” Fowler said the purchase of the Padres was an “all cash deal.” Fowler: “We are not taking on any debt. The new ownership group is over-subscribed.” Peter Seidler earlier said that Fowler was picked as control person “because of his links to both the Padres and the community.” Fowler said that it would be “several weeks before the new owners start publicly addressing some questions facing the club.” Fowler added that “one thing that will not be publicly aired is the payroll, although he said it would be going up.” As for the continuing impasse between FS San Diego and Time Warner Cable on the distribution of Padres games, Peter Seidler said, “We understand this is a huge issue, but it’s not a simple problem” (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 8/30).

TIGHT LIPPED: In San Diego, Nick Canepa writes the group “refused to answer where they will go on player salary, although we already know it gave the OK to the Padres re-upping" OF Carlos Quentin and P Huston Street. Canepa: “These people aren’t going to go Dodger-stupid. Just because part of baseball has gone completely insane doesn’t mean you have to line up at the door of the asylum.” Fowler said, “Payroll will go up on an orderly basis. We signed two guys who wanted to be here. We can’t keep all of them, but we’re going to try. We are not going to discuss payroll in the press. All it will do is tell our competition what we’re doing” (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 8/30). In California, Jeff Sanders writes whatever number the Padres' ownership group “settles on, don't look for Byrnes to spend it all with a big splash in the free-agent market.” Byrnes said, "I've been doing this long enough to know that payroll isn't a number -- it's relative to what your competitors are doing and, most importantly, how you're spending your money." Sanders writes the financial resources that Fowler and O'Malley/Seidler families “bring to the Padres will enable Byrnes to afford emerging talent from within the organization” (NORTH COUNTY TIMES, 8/30).

PLAYERS WEIGH IN: The NORTH COUNTY TIMES' Sanders in a separate piece notes Padres players had a “brief introduction to the five lead owners” before last night’s game against the Braves. Padres RF Mark Kotsay said, "It was a very casual meeting, but their point was well taken in the sense that they are going to provide the management with the tools to put a good club on the field and give us the opportunity to win here” (NORTH COUNTY TIMES, 8/30).

HERE WE GO AGAIN: In California, Jay Paris writes, “Here comes the dog-and-pony show about the team being more involved in the community and enhancing the fan experience. All grand ideas and all stuff we heard from John Moores and Jeff Moorad when they grabbed the wheel of this topsy-turvy franchise.” Paris: “We arrived expecting answers and we got backpedaling, tap dancing and an ample heaping of ambiguous.” Peter Seidler said, "This franchise has all the potential in the world.” But Paris writes, “Peter, we hate to pan your aspirations, but we've seen potential, we've seen prospects, and we've heard promises that weren't kept. But you guys seem like keepers. We'll keep the faith that the Padres are finally in good hands” (NORTH COUNTY TIMES, 8/30).
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