Explaining Southern California's economy

Ross Levinsohn used to work for Yahoo, now he works for the guys who own the Dodgers

2011 Families Matter Benefit And Celebration

Michael Buckner/Getty Images For Friends of the

Ross Levinsohn at the Beverly Hills Hotel in 2011. The former Yahoo interim CEO was just named non-interim CEO of Guggenheim Digital Media.

Ross Levinsohn now works for the guys who own the Dodgers. The former interim CEO of Yahoo — he was at the shaky helm between the controversial exit of Scott Thompson and the potentially game-changing hire of Marissa Mayer from Google — has been named CEO of Guggenheim  Digital Media.

He replaces Dottie Mattison, who had only been on the job since last July, and will oversee a suite of properties that includes the Hollywood Reporter, AdWeek, and Billboard (all of which, it should be noted, are not purely digital publications). These used to operate under the aegis of Prometheus Global Media, but Guggenheim Partners has taken the opportunity of a marquee hire to rename the company.

Guggenheim Partners did something similar when it bought the Los Angeles Dodgers last year for more than $2 billion, creating an entity called Guggenheim Baseball Management in the process.

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Shamu goes public: Could SeaWorld's IPO retire a whale of debt?

Baby Killer Whale Born At SeaWorld San Diego

Getty Images/Getty Images

A mother and baby orcas, also called killer whales, swim at Sea World in San Diego. The company just filed for a $100 million IPO, much of which may go to put a dent in $1.7 billion of debt.

Last week, SeaWorld and its iconic orcas filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission for an initial public offering. It's fair to call this the "Shamu IPO," even though the original Shamu, who performed at the original SeaWorld in San Diego, died in 1971. SeaWorld has kept the moniker around as a sort of branded stage name for orcas.

SeaWorld also operates marine-based theme parks in Orlando, Florida, and San Antonio, Texas; the parent company, SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, runs eight other venues in the U.S. And that parent company is owned by Blackstone, a huge private equity firm that bought SeaWord from Anheuser-Busch in 2009.

(Blackstone, with another aspect of its business, also managed the sale of the Dodgers last year and is currently involved with the sale of sports and entertainment colossus AEG.)

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What are the chances that the Dodgers will create a regional sports network?

Dodgers New Owners

Corey Moore/KPCC

The Dodgers' new ownership team paid $2 billion for the team and have a payroll over $200 million for 2013. They need a huge broadcast contract.

Better, it turns out, than they were a few weeks ago. The Dodgers — purchased by Guggenheim Baseball Management for $2 billion and with a 2013 payroll of almost $211 million — need to bring in a lot of revenue from a new broadcast contract. The team's current deal with Fox Sports, which concludes in 2013, is for $350 million. 

That's peanuts compared to the crackerjack (Sorry! Ballpark humor...) deal that Fox and the Dodgers concocted and presented to Major League Baseball a couple of weeks ago, says Forbes' redoubtable sports business correspondent, Mike Ozanian: $6.1 billion, to create a hybrid regional sports network/renewal deal with Fox.

The size of that jump in the numbers should surprise no one. Guggenheim Baseball Management — a sort of sports-oriented private equity sub-firm created by Mark Walter of Chicago-based Guggenheim partners, Stan Kasten, and Magic Johnson — paid $2 billion for the Dodgers on the assumption that the broadcast contract would be ginormous.

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DeBord Report LA Businessperson of the Year Award goes to...Elon Musk!

elon musk

Photo Credit: SpaceX

Tesla Motors and SpaceX CEO is the DeBord Report's 2012 L.A. Businessperson of the Year!

On Tuesday, I announced that today (Thursday) the DeBord Report would be naming its 2012 L.A. Businessperson of the Year. To bring readers into the discussion, we also launched a poll, so that you good folks  could vote for the two candidates:

Former Dodgers owner Frank McCourt, who bought the team for $430 million and sold it for...$2 billion!

Tesla Motors and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, who has created a market for high-end electric cars, opened the era of private space flight, and has declared his intention to retire on Mars.

First the results of the voting: It's Musk by a landslide: 91 percent versus only about 8 percent for McCourt. BUT that's still 8 percent for McCourt! So maybe he isn't as widely loathed as some thought.

One percent chose, as far as I can tell, Mickey Mouse. Someone always has to vote for Mickey Mouse...

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Poll: Who should be LA Businessperson of the Year, Frank McCourt or Elon Musk?

LAPD Takes Over Security At Dodgers Games After Attack On Giants Fan

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Former Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt speaks at a news conference at Dodger Stadium. He bought the team for $430 million and sold it for $2 billion, with a side deal for the parking lots. Is he the greatest businessman L.A. has ever seen?

Tesla Worldwide Debut of Model X

Jordan Strauss/Getty Images for Tesla

Elon Musk has had quite a year. Tesla won Motor Trend's Car of the Year with its all-electric Model S. SpaceX went to International Space Station an kicked off the era of commercial space flight. And then there's the forthcoming Solar City IPO. Is he L.A.'s Businessman of the Year?


It's the time of year for year-end lists and … contests! Not to mention awards. For 2012, the DeBord Report will be conducting a simple contest to name L.A.'s Businessperson of the Year.

You can vote on the entrants in the poll below and share your thoughts in the comments, but I'll be making the final call. And so, without further ado, here are the candidates for the DeBord Report's 2012 L.A. Business Person of the Year.

Frank McCourt

The businessman that, for the most part, Angelenos love to hate. The former Dodgers owner made his fortune in parking lots back in Boston before coming west and buying the Boys in Blue from Rupert Murdoch's NewsCorp in 2004 for $430 million.

In 2009, the long saga of Frank's divorce from wife Jamie and his subsequent battle with Major League Baseball began. By 2011, McCourt had put the team, then valued at around $750 million, into bankruptcy.

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