The Breakdown

Explaining Southern California's economy

So Ron Fowler isn't in on the Padres sale — yet

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The U-T follows up a CBS Sports report from this week that brewing magnate is one of the key investors in a potential purchase of the San Diego Padres by Peter O'Malley, his family members, and a group that inlcudes pro golfer and San Diego native Phil Mickelson. 

Here's Bill Center:

...San Diego businessman Ron Fowler denied a report that he is "fronting" the O’Malley group for the purchase of the team.

“I have nothing to do with the negotiations between the O’Malleys and John Moores,” said Fowler. “If I have a role with the O’Malleys, it will be after the sale. We have talked, but there is nothing I have committed to.”

Fowler, who is CEO of Liquid Investments and a respected businessman and civic leader, is currently serving as the managing partner of the minority group that owns 49.32 percent of the Padres.

That minority group is led by Jeff Moorad, who has been buying the Padres on the installment plan from Moores since 2009. Earlier this year, he was all set to pay off his roughly $500-million purchase price early. But Major League Baseball's owners intervened. By March, Moorad had stepped down as CEO and Moores had hired an investment bank, Allen & Co., and it's noted sports dealmaker, Steve Greenberg, to find a new buyer. 

A little quick math. Moorad had already paid something like $348 million to Moores to obtain his share. I'm not sure how the deal was originally structured. Some shares may have been worth more than others. But he Didn't owe Moores another $348 million to get the rest of the team; he was scheduled to finish it off with $152 million.

If the Padres sell for an estimated $800 million, Moorad and the minority group could walk away with $400 million or more. So he stands to make money.

What's unclear is whether Fowler has a financial stake as a minority partner. Presumably, if he does get involved with the O'Malley bid, he could convert his return from the sale into an investment stake in the new ownership group. Given that O'Malley's funding sources are rumored to be balky — they led to the him dropping his bid to buy the Dodgers earlier this year — Fowler could still play a prominent role.

The deal could close before the All-Star break, and right now, the O'Malley group, which goes beyond Peter to include his heirs, is the only bidder in negotiations with Moores.

Follow Matthew DeBord and the DeBord Report on Twitter. And ask Matt questions at Quora.

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