Explaining Southern California's economy

The Phil Mickelson dilemma: Why California can't afford to lose its millionaires

Farmers Insurance Open - Preview Day 3

Donald Miralle/Getty Images

Phil Mickelson speaks to reporters following play during the Pro-Am at the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines South Golf Course on January 23 in La Jolla, California. Will higher taxes drive him and other rich Californians to tax-free states?

Millionaire professional golfer and San Diegan Phil Mickelson got himself into a spot of bogeyish bother during the weekend when he said that in response to rising income taxes on the wealthy in the U.S. and California, he would have to take "drastic action."

Observers interpreted the pronouncement as a pledge to leave the Golden State for the tax-free embrace of Florida to which Mickelson's fellow native Californian, Tiger Woods, skedaddled in the mid-1990s. It also shed some light on why, after being part of an investor group that won the bidding for the Padres last year and bought the team for $800 million, he pulled up his ownership stake.

Florida is pretty much the epicenter of pro golf. Numerous touring professionals, American and otherwise, have pitched their tents there. Mickelson is something of an outlier for choosing tax-addled California and having to add to his private jet flying time when he visits the links of Europe.

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How much could LA sports and entertainment giant AEG be worth in a sale?

AEG

In this rendering released by AEG, the proposed football stadium to house a NFL team in Los Angeles, California is seen. Today, AEG's parent company announced that it's seeking buyers for the entertainment and sports group, but L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said that the stadium plan will move forward.

Earlier today, the Anschutz Corporation announced that it's "exploring" or "planning" a sale of the Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) — various media outlets reported the announcement differently — and has hired the the mergers-and-acquistions arm of the Blackstone Group to manage the bids. From the company's statement, however, the objective seems to be to transition "AEG to a new qualified owner," which sounds very much like this is the real deal.

A substantial minority stake in AEG — 49 percent — was nearly sold to Ticketmaster and Cablevision in 2008. The transaction didn't ultimately happen, but it was thought to be worth $200 million, making AEG at the time worth around $400 million in total. [UPDATE: I misread the NYTimes DealBook report from 2008 — AEG wasn't thought to be worth $1 billion at the time.]

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And so it has ended: The Dodgers are sold

Los Angeles Dodgers v San Diego Padres

Denis Poroy/Getty Images

Magic Johnson sits with Frank McCourt during a game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Diego Padres. The Dodgers are finally sold. Now we can move on to the Padres!

Well, our long local nightmare has finally drawn to an anticlimactic close. After a briefly alarming delay last night, the Los Angeles Dodgers are now no longer the property or Frank McCourt but belong instead to Guggenheim Baseball Management, a group made up chiefly of Magic Johnson, Stan Kasten, and Mark Walter, the CEO of Guggenheim Partners. The purchase price was a whopping, record-setting $2.15 billion. 

The thorn in the side of Angelenos who grew to...well, let's just say dislike McCourt over the years will be the former owner's 50-percent stake in the parking lots around Dodger Stadium. GBM will get to collect the parking fees for games, but McCourt will be able to propose development plans — although they'll have to be approved by the new owners.

The press conference is tomorrow. Don't know where it is yet, nor what time, but rumor has it that Walter will be in attendance.

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