Explaining Southern California's economy

Dodgers sale: And then there were three...

Dodger Stadium Bleachers

pvsbond/Flickr (cc by-nc-nd)

The bleachers stand empty at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California.

Let's just call this an update. There were four groups bidding for the Los Angeles Dodgers. That number has been cut to three, as Michael Heisley, owner of the Memphis Grizzlies, has been eliminated.

This leaves:

•Billionaire hedge-fund king Steven Cohen (along with partners Arn Tellem, Tony La Russa, and L.A. billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong) and his essentially all-cash offer, estimated at $1.4-$1.6 billion.

Magic Johnson and Stan Kasten, along with partner Peter Guber, who owns the Golden State Warriors. Their $1.6-billion bid brings far less cash to the table than Cohen's. Instead, it relies on financing through Guggenheim Partners — and it's unclear whether that funding is as stable as it was when Magic & Co. entered the process.

Stan Kroenke, owner of the St. Louis Rams. The Rams are a factor here, as Kroenke might — might — relocate the team to L.A. to support the Farmers Field Downtown NFL stadium project being developed by AEG. He would have to figure out how to convince Major League Baseball that he intends to NOT own both teams in the same market. AP says that Kroenke can match Cohen's funding. I doubt it. Forbes estimates his net worth at $3.2 billion, less than half of Cohen's $8 billion.

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Dodgers sale: Stanley Gold and Disney family back in

Dodger Stadium Bleachers

pvsbond/Flickr (cc by-nc-nd)

The bleachers stand empty at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California.

Yesterday, I blogged about the four remaining bidders for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Well, I blogged too fast, as one of the eliminated groups — investor Stanley Gold of Shamrock Holdings, along with the Disney family — is back in. A committee of Major League Baseball owners vetting the bids kicked them out, but a court-appointed mediator has kicked them back in.

Now five groups altogether will move in to a vote by all the MLB owners. After that, Dodgers owner Frank McCourt will conduct a final auction to choose the winning bid. This process will be concluded by the first week in April, and the money will change hands by April 30.

MLB disqualified another bid, that of real-estate developer Alan Casden, but that decision was upheld by the medaitor, according to the L.A. Times' Bill Shaikin. 

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Dodgers sale: Four bidders remain, Cohen bringing in Tony La Russa, Soon-Shiong

MPR529/Flickr (Creative Commons-licensed)

Time is running out for Dodgers owner Frank McCourt to choose a new owner before opening day. The number of bidders is now down to four. There've also been a few surprises late in the game.

We have roughly two weeks remaining before Dodgers owner Frank McCourt must sell the team. Bidders have been dropping like flies, leaving only a March Madness-appropriate Final Four groups. It remains to be seen whether all four will make it to McCourt's final auction — the Major League Baseball owners doing the eliminating will first send the finalist to a vote by all owners.

Regardless, McCourt has to conduct his auction and choose a winner by the first week in April. The money must change hands by April 30.

Here's who's left:

•Hedge-fund billionaire Steven Cohen, along with sports agent Arn Tellem and new partners Tony La Russa, the baseball great, and Patrick Soon-Shiong, an Angeleno whose personal wealth is estimated at over $7 billion.

•Former Laker great Magic Johnson, Stan Kasten, plus a new financial partner (see below).

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Dodgers sale: New York media mini-mogul and Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner jumps in

Game Over McCoourt

Corey Bridwell/KPCC

Kristie Wold from Downey, CA celebrated McCourt's decision to part with the Dodgers on Wednesday, November 2, 2011.

Well, this was totally unexpected. Jared Kushner — the boyish owner of the New York Observer, scion of a somewhat controversial money clan from the Big Apple, and husband to Ivanka Trump — has made it to the next round of bidding for the Los Angeles Dodgers. How Kushner gets through when Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban doesn't is a mystery to me. But there he is. This is from Bill Shaikin at the LA Times:

Jared Kushner, born into a prominent New York real estate family and son-in-law of Donald Trump, has emerged as a candidate in the bidding for the Dodgers.

Kushner, who became owner and publisher of the New York Observer in 2006, has played a key role in expanding the family business beyond real estate. At 31, he would be the youngest owner in Major League Baseball.

The Kushner bid is one of at least nine to advance to the second round of the Dodgers' ownership sweepstakes. The bid has not previously surfaced publicly and was confirmed by a person familiar with the sale process but not authorized to discuss it.

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Dodgers bidding war: Mark Cuban is out but Magic and the money guys are still in

Dodger Stadium Bleachers

pvsbond/Flickr (cc by-nc-nd)

The bleachers stand empty at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California.

Just a quick update on the sale of the Los Angeles Dodgers. The bids were submitted last week and already a few potential buyers have dropped out. Most prominent among these is Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, who tried to buy both the Chicago Cubs and the Texas Rangers when they available were (he failed in both cases). 

Magic Johnson, the Lakers superstar and successful regional businessman, is still in the running, however. As are two of the big money guys who've been discussed as prospective owners: East Coast hedge-fund king Steven Cohen; and LA-based private-equity duke Tom Barrack

Additionally, St. Louis Ram's owners Stan Kroenke — a player whom I hadn't written about — made the cut, which was managed by Dodgers owners Frank McCourt in concert with the investment back that's advising him on the sale, Blackstone Advisory Partners. Given that the Rams could be the new LA NFL franchise, depending on how things go with the AEG Downtown stadium project (the project is still in search of a team, and it seems to be down to the Rams and Raiders), I'm not sure how Kroenke could own two sports teams in town. But that's for the NFL and Major League Baseball to sort out.

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