Explaining Southern California's economy

San Diego Padres sale completed for $800 million, league owners to vote on August 16

San Diego Padres v Colorado Rockies

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Starting pitcher Anthony Bass of the San Diego Padres. The team was just sold to a new ownership group for $800 million.

Pretty much as expected, the San Diego Padres sale to heirs of former Dodgers owner Peter O'Malley — plus pro golfer Phil Mickelson and, according to the San Diego U-T, Ron Fowler — has gone through for $800 million. Padres owner John Moores and minority owner Jeff Moorad sealed the deal tonight.

As has been widely reported prior to the deal closing, $200 million of the $800 million is part of the payment that the Padres received when they recently did a 20-year, $1.4-billion broadcast deal with Fox Sports. Fowler, a San Diego businessman, had said that he wasn't front-and-center in the new investor group, but it appears that he has stepped away from the minority ownership group and is now assuming a role with the new owners.

Major League Baseball's owners still have to vote on the deal. They could do this on August 16. But the vote will likely be a formality, given that MLB Commissioner Bud Selig has effectively given his blessing to the new ownership group. As David Carter, professor of sports business at the USC Marshall School of Business and the Executive Director of the USC Sport Business Institute, explained to me when we talked about the deal in early July:

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What's the holdup on the San Diego Padres sale?

Gatorade All-Star Workout Day

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National League All-Star Huston Street of the San Diego Padres looks on during the Gatorade All-Star Workout Day at Kauffman Stadium. Why is it taking so long to sell his team?

The simple answer is: It's complicated.

You can't just sell a Major League Baseball franchise for $800 million (the widely reported sale price, about $400 million more than what Forbes says the team is worth) and expect negotiations to go off seamlessly. So reports that the Padres were going to be sold by the All-Star break have now turned out to be exaggerated, even though the O'Malley family and their investors have been in an "exclusive" negotiating period with John Moores, the Padres' current majority owner.

That negotiating period has been extended by what the Chicago Tribune said on July 8 would be another 10 days. The O'Malley Group is still the only bidder, and based on his recent public comments, it sounds like MLB Commissioner Bud Selig has given the deal his blessing.

"Bud Selig doesn't take that kind of position if he hasn't already counted the votes," said David Carter, a professor of sports business at the USC Marshall School of Business and the Executive Director of the USC Sport Business Institute. 

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

San Diego Padres v Colorado Rockies

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Starting pitcher Anthony Bass of the San Diego Padres delivers against the Colorado Rockies. The Padres are for sale, and business leader Ron Fowler says that contrary to reports, he isn't the main money man.

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.

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San Diego Padres could be sold for $800 million by the All-Star break

San Diego Padres v Colorado Rockies

Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Starting pitcher Anthony Bass of the San Diego Padres. The team could be nearing a sale for $800 million.

That's what being reported, anyway. CBS Sports says that current owner John Moores has entered an "exclusive negotiating window" to sell the team for about twice its current (depressed) value of $406 million — and a lot more than Moores paid to buy the team in 1994, and to start selling it in 2009.

The sticker price is rumored to be $800 million. If the sale — to a group led by the family of former Dodgers owner Peter O'Malley, brewing tycoon Ron Fowler, and other investors including pro golfer and San Diego native Phil Mickelson — goes through, it would make the Padres the third costliest Major League Baseball team acquisition, behind the Chicago Cubs $845 and of course the recent Dodgers sale of more than $2 billion.

It would also mean that the two other potential owners — communications mogul Gary Jabara; and private-equity titan Steve Kaplan of Los Angeles' Oaktree Capital — are out of the running. 

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