L.A. TIMES REPORTS THAT MURDOCH/MALONE HAVE DEAL ON DODGERS
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).