Fox Denies WSJ Report That The Company Is Interested In Buying Back Dodgers
Fox late last night denied interest in buying the Dodgers after the Wall Street Journal reported that the company signed a non-disclosure agreement with the bankers handling the sale of the team. A Fox spokesperson last night said, “Fox has no interest in owning the Dodgers" (THE DAILY). The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Matthew Futterman reports a Fox exec "signed the nondisclosure agreement on the same day that lawyers for News Corp. settled a lawsuit with the Dodgers that threatened to cripple the sales process." The reported signing of the agreement is the "latest indication that the company ... plans to do whatever it can to hang onto the team's valuable media rights." Sources said that News Corp. "doesn't want to reclaim full ownership of the team," as it instead is looking to "become a minority investor to improve its chances of keeping the team's television rights." The sources said that News Corp. is "interested in a 15-20% stake and is also offering to use its resources to help finance an acquisition of the team." Futterman notes media rights beyond '13, when the Dodgers' current TV deal expires, are "at the center of the sale of the franchise, with several potential bidders planning offers based on how much the team will earn from its next local media rights deal or even future revenue from a new Dodger-themed regional sports network that a new owner could choose to launch before the 2014 season" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 1/12). In L.A., Bill Shaikin cites a source as saying that Fox has "reached out to prospective bidders to indicate its interest in acquiring a minority share of the club -- essentially offering to pay part of the Dodgers' purchase price so as to lock up the TV rights." Shaikin notes more than "a dozen prospective buyers have been publicly identified" after Beverly Hills-based developer Alan Casden made known that he "would like to buy the team." Opening bids for the Dodgers are due Jan. 23 (L.A. TIMES, 1/12).