Mavericks Owner Mark Cuban was "eliminated from the Dodgers' ownership sweepstakes Friday, along with" White Sox Special Assistant to the Chair Dennis Gilbert, according to sources cited by Bill Shaikin of the L.A. TIMES. At least "eight bidders advanced to the second round Friday, including a group led by" Basketball HOFer Magic Johnson and former Nationals and Braves President Stan Kasten, and another group headed by L.A. developer Rick Caruso and former MLB Exec VP/Baseball Operations Joe Torre. SAC Capital Advisors Founder Steven Cohen, former Dodgers Owner Peter O'Malley and Rams Owner Stan Kroenke "also are believed to have advanced, as well as a joint bid between" Shamrock Holdings President & CEO Stanley Gold and the Disney family. Shaikin noted it is "uncertain how many parties did not make the cut." The remaining players "will be investigated by Major League Baseball, with each bidder paying $25,000 to cover the cost of an MLB investigation" (L.A. TIMES, 1/28). Shaikin also notes Colony Capital Founder, Chair & CEO Tom Barrack has partnered with F1 Grand Prix of America Exec Chair and former YES Network Chair & CEO Leo Hindery "on a bid for the Dodgers." Hindery and Clarion Capital Managing Partner Marc Utay "lead one of at least eight groups that survived Friday's first cut among the bidders." That group "had been one of the two prospective buyers known to remain in the bidding without a significant tie to Los Angeles" (L.A. TIMES, 1/30). Shaikin noted Beverly Hills developer Alan Casden is thought to be among the "remaining bidders," while a group led by former MLBers Steve Garvey and Orel Hershiser "is out of the running." Meanwhile, Shaikin noted Penguins co-Owner Ron Burkle "did not bid on the Dodgers, but he might still play a part in the future of the team." A source said that with the opening round of bidding concluded, Burkle "might consider backing groups led by Rick Caruso or Stanley Gold" (L.A. TIMES, 1/29).
THE DEVIL YOU KNOW... In L.A., T.J. Simers noted the Dodgers' new owner "will not be selected because he considers the team a local treasure." It will not "matter if he's a good guy, makes himself available to the fans like [Angels Owner] Arte Moreno or treats the Dodgers like just another investment in his portfolio." Simers: "With the second round of bidding underway, I was wondering if anyone besides [outgoing Owner Frank] McCourt is really assured of being better off with such a change. ... Change is difficult. This one will certainly involve higher ticket prices as [McCourt] has lowered them for this season and the new guy will be paying more than $1 billion to please McCourt." The payroll and stadium "are going to need an upgrade," and just because the new owner "isn't McCourt doesn't mean he's not going to eventually hit Dodgers fans with the bill." Simers: "Do you think the new owner is going to maintain the status quo? Let me help you: No! No one is going to be safe" (L.A. TIMES, 1/29).