Explaining Southern California's economy

Dodgers sale: The deal now heads to bankruptcy court

Los Angeles Dodgers v San Diego Padres

Denis Poroy/Getty Images

Magic Johnson sits with Frank McCourt during the game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Diego Padres in the home opener at Petco Park on April 5, 2012 in San Diego, California.

Ahead of an April 13 hearing in the Los Angeles Dodgers' bankruptcy case, the team's soon-to-be-new-owners-if-all-goes-well and the team's debtholders are filing court documents. This may or may not shed light on the structure of the deal, but it will certainly provide a bit more transparency on the $2.15 billion purchase price Guggenheim Baseball Management agreed on with Frank McCourt than we've had so far. 

I have access to the court documents but may have to take some time to sort through them. So stay posted.

At the L.A. Times, Bill Shaikin summarizes the story up to this point. He's also tweeting his way through the documents at @BillShaikin. Worth a follow for sure!

UPDATE: The official purchase price is $1.59 billion. Then there's the debt Guggenheim Baseball Management (GBM) is taking on, a bit more than $412 million. There's your $2 billion price tag. The parking lots side deal, remember, is $150 million for GBM, with McCourt providing the other $150 million. Total deal size is really $2.3 billion.

Read More...

Guggenheim's Mark Walter clarifies the McCourt parking lots deal

MPR529/Flickr (Creative Commons-licensed)

Dodger Stadium during a night game.

Mark Walter, the CEO of Guggenheim Partners and "controlling partner" of the Guggenheim Baseball Management team that includes Magic Johnson and is buying the Dodgers for $2 billion, has finally commented on the burning issue of the sale: What's going on with Frank McCourt and the parking lots?

Thanks to Mark Lacter at LA Biz Observed for digging this up:

ESPN is reporting that the Dodger sale includes a 50 percent stake in the parking lots, which are said to have a value of $300 million. Current owner Frank McCourt will keep the other half.
[Controlling owner Mark] Walter said he understood the concerns, but insisted that McCourt will only have an "economic interest" in the land and not any control or influence over it. "Frank's not involved in the team, baseball, any of that," Walter said. "What Frank does have is an economic interest in land, but we control the parking and all the fan experience and that's of the utmost importance to us."

Read More...

The New York Times can't believe this Frank McCourt guy

Lynn Zinser really lets it rip at the New York Times' Bats blog:

O.K., let’s see if we’ve got this straight. As Los Angeles Dodgers owner, Frank McCourt turned a storied franchise into a ridiculous melodrama centered on his dissolving marriage, alienated its loyal fans, let the iconic stadium languish, arguably turned a blind eye to the darkness gathering in Chavez Ravine’s parking lots, oversaw the whole Mannywood fiasco, ran up debt like a spoiled teenager with a parent’s platinum card, angered nearly everyone in Major League Baseball by being arrogant about it and then just escaped bankruptcy by selling the team for more than $2 billion.

Holy cow.

Did ya catch that Harry Caray reference at the end? Clever New York Times...

Watch the video above for more Harry Caray fun, this time from Saturday Night Live.

Read More...

What's the deal with the Dodgers parking lots?

Dodger Stadium Bleachers

pvsbond/Flickr (cc by-nc-nd)

The bleachers stand empty at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California. You can see Frank McCourt's precious parking lots in the background.

Forget that Magic Johnson, Stan Kasten, Peter Guber, and Guggenheim Partners — as "Guggenheim Baseball Management" — are buying the L.A. Dodgers for $2 billion. Everyone really wants to know what's going on with Frank McCourt and the massive parking lots!

At L.A. Weekly, David Futch summarizes:

Though many wanted him gone for good, under the sales terms, McCourt will be co-owner of the surrounding lands. In essence, he purchased the Dodger acreage from himself along with his new partner, a still-unnamed affiliate of Guggenheim.
McCourt has dreamed of a major development that could substantially alter the deliberately scruffy, artsy Echo Park vibe. Locals fear that the tin-ear McCourt will champion something along the lines of The Grove in the Fairfax District, an upscale mall that’s anethema to Eastsiders — many of whom make a sport of dumping on cookie-cutter chain stores and Muzak drifting from outdoor speakers shaped like boulders.

Read More...

Will Major League Baseball re-evaluate Magic Johnson's Dodgers bid?

Annual Harold Pump Foundation Gala Honoring Magic Johnson And Bill Russell

Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

New Dodgers owner? Earvin "Magic" Johnson arrives at the Annual Harold Pump Foundation Gala Honoring Magic Johnson And Bill Russell at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, on August 13, 2009 in Beverly Hills, California.

As everyone who cares (i.e, the entire city of Los Angeles) now knows, Magic Johnson, Stan Kasten, Peter Guber and financing cohort Guggenheim Partners are buying the L.A. Dodgers for a whopping $2 billion, the highest price ever paid for a pro sports franchise (it blows away the $1.1 billion that the Miami Dolphins went for in 2009). 

Somehow, between last week and last night, Magic Johnson and his partners went from reportedly scrambling to raise more cash on their $1.6-billion bid to bringing another $400 million to the table ($550 million, if you count the parking lot deal being done on the side with Dodgers owner Frank McCourt). 

The bankruptcy court still needs to review this bid, but what about Major League Baseball? The owners who voted to allow the three bidding groups — Steven Cohen and Stan Kroenke were the other two — to advance to a final auction, conducted by McCourt, have now learned that McCourt and Guggenheim CEO Mark Walter apparently cut a deal with no auction, for substantially more than anticipated. 

Read More...