Explaining Southern California's economy

Poll: Who should be LA Businessperson of the Year, Frank McCourt or Elon Musk?

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

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Former Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt speaks at a news conference at Dodger Stadium. He bought the team for $430 million and sold it for $2 billion, with a side deal for the parking lots. Is he the greatest businessman L.A. has ever seen?

Tesla Worldwide Debut of Model X

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Elon Musk has had quite a year. Tesla won Motor Trend's Car of the Year with its all-electric Model S. SpaceX went to International Space Station an kicked off the era of commercial space flight. And then there's the forthcoming Solar City IPO. Is he L.A.'s Businessman of the Year?


It's the time of year for year-end lists and … contests! Not to mention awards. For 2012, the DeBord Report will be conducting a simple contest to name L.A.'s Businessperson of the Year.

You can vote on the entrants in the poll below and share your thoughts in the comments, but I'll be making the final call. And so, without further ado, here are the candidates for the DeBord Report's 2012 L.A. Business Person of the Year.

Frank McCourt

The businessman that, for the most part, Angelenos love to hate. The former Dodgers owner made his fortune in parking lots back in Boston before coming west and buying the Boys in Blue from Rupert Murdoch's NewsCorp in 2004 for $430 million.

In 2009, the long saga of Frank's divorce from wife Jamie and his subsequent battle with Major League Baseball began. By 2011, McCourt had put the team, then valued at around $750 million, into bankruptcy.

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

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

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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.

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

San Diego Padres v Colorado Rockies

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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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Dodgers sale: Are there cracks in the deal?

Los Angeles Dodgers v San Diego Padres

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SAN DIEGO, CA - APRIL 5 : Magic Johnson (L) 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. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)

The Dodgers and the organization's creditors began filing documents with the bankruptcy court in Delaware that's overseeing the team's sale. We didn't learn a whole lot beyond the known value of the deal: $2.15 billion, consisting of a cash offer, the assumption of the team's existing debt, and a side deal with outgoing owner Frank McCourt for the real estate around the stadium, currently blanketed with parking lots.

What we want to know is where the money that Guggenheim Baseball Management (GBM) — the entity that consists of Magic Johnson, Stan Kasten, Peter Guber, and financier Mark Walter of Guggenheim Partners — has brought to the deal is coming from. Remember, the final sale was conducted preemptively, without the anticipated auction that McCourt was going to conduct among the three final bidders. And the final sale price came in over half a billion higher than the initial bid than Major League Baseball approved from Guggenheim.

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

Annual Harold Pump Foundation Gala Honoring Magic Johnson And Bill Russell

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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. 

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