Explaining Southern California's economy

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

San Diego Padres v Colorado Rockies

Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

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.

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...

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. 

Read More...

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).

Read More...

Dodgers sale: It's all about the money!

Pittsburgh Pirates v Los Angeles Dodgers

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

It's getting close to decision time for Frank McCourt on choosing a winning Dodgers bidder.

We're getting down to the wire in the bidding for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Owner Frank McCourt is expected to conduct a final auction in time to announce a winning bidder by the first week in April, with the money changing hands and the team officially emerging from bankruptcy by April 30.

Right now, with the bids all in, the various parties who want to buy the team are being vetted by Major League Baseball. Some of the final bidders have fallen by the wayside — notably surprise late entry Jared Kushner, who owns the New York Observer and is Donald Trump's son-in-law. Grant Brisbee has the most recent lowdown. Seems that five bidder-groups are likely to pass MLB muster.

I was a bit stunned to learn that Magic Johnson and Stan Kasten — the local favorites after Rick Caruso and Joe Torre dropped their bid — have put up the highest dollar figure at $1.6 billion. I didn't think anyone would outbid Steven Cohen, the hedge fund guy who's reportedly worth $8 billion on his own. Cohen's bid is evidently $1.4 billion, according to Brisbee. But Forbes thinks — as I do — that Cohen is the only bidder with enough money essentially already in the bank to write Frank McCourt a big check. That's the way Forbes' Mike Ozanian is spinning it, anyway.

Read More...