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.

Read More...

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.

Read More...

Why LA should be glad Steven Cohen didn't buy the Dodgers

Hedge Fund Manager Charged In Major Insider Trading Case Appears In Court

Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Former hedge fund portfolio manager Mathew Martoma exits a New York federal court after being charged in one of the biggest insider trading cases in history. He worked for CR Intrinsic Investors LLC, a firm that was associated with Steven Cohen's SAC Capital Advisors.

Speculation about the size of a potential deal for AEG — estimates range from $8-$10 billion — has quickly made Angelenos forget about the $2-billion-plus price that Guggenheim Baseball Management and Magic Johnson paid for the L.A. Dodgers earlier this year. Angelenos may have forgotten something else: Until Guggenheim Partners swept in from Chicago to add another half billion to the deal, the price for team was hovering around $1.6 billion and the leading bidder was Steven Cohen.

As I explained at the time, Cohen — one of Forbes' wealthiest Americans, with a net worth north of $8 billion — was one of the few bidders for the Dodgers who could basically write a check for the team. In fact, that seemed the likely outcome, until Mark Walter and Guggenheim emerged from the background. Cohen had even paired up with local L.A. billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong, the richest guy in town. It wasn't enough in the end to trump Guggenheim's bid.

Read More...

Frank McCourt: Businessman of the year?

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

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt. He sold the team, but kept the parking lots, to the tune of $14 million a year.

Now that the Los Angeles Dodgers have been officially sold, for the record-setting price of $2 billion, we can, without emotion, consider the accomplishment of former owner Frank McCourt.

You'd have to seriously consider him for the title of businessman of the year. Seriously.

Why? Because in 2004, McCourt bought the Dodgers for $430 million, using effectively none of his own money. After satisfying the various debts related to the team as it emerged from bankruptcy court into the arms of Magic Johnson's ownership group, Guggenheim Baseball Management (GMB), McCourt should clear something like $1 billion. He had to pay his ex-wife $131 million in their divorce settlement — but the side deal he did for the Dodger Stadium parking lots amounted to $3 billion, split between himself and what has been described as an "entity" associated with the new owners. At $150 million, his half wound up being worth close to $20 million more than Jamie's payout.

Read More...

Dodger press conference: Meet the new owners

Dodgers New Owners

Corey Moore/KPCC

Meet the Dodgers' new ownership team. Who do you think that tall guy in the XXXL jersey in the middle bearing number 12 is?

The new Dodgers owners are in the middle of a Vin Scully-emceed press conference on a gray and rainy day at Dodger Stadium (let's hope the old wedding adage about bad weather is proven true in this new betrothal). Magic Johnson provided the rousing message about making the team back into winners, living up to the legacy of the great players of the past. 

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said the usual politician things. 

Interestingly, Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig didn't make it to centerfield.

Stan Kasten, the veteran baseball pro who'll be running Dodger operations, quipped that "he'd been under a gag order" for six months, then highlighted the "TLC" that Dodger Stadium, turning 50 this year, needs. He spoke of "enhancements," of bringing the experience "into the 21st century." Given the fan exodus that the Dodgers saw over the past few years, and given that the stadium is no longer thought of as a safe place to see a game, Kasten pressed home a message about serving the team's loyalists. He even rolled out an email suggestion box: fanbox@ladodgers.com. And if that sounds kind of old school, he also nodded toward social media.

Read More...