Explaining Southern California's economy

San Diego Padres sale is finalized and at $800 million, it's third largest in MLB history

San Diego Padres v Arizona Diamondbacks

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Chase Headley of the San Diego Padres dives for a ground ball against the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Padres have officially changed hands, for $800 million.

It’s official — the San Diego Padres have changed hands, in a deal that ranks as the third largest in the history of Major League Baseball. MLB's owners approved the sale today.

The Padres weren’t sold in time for the All-Star Game, but for previous owner John Moores, the wait was probably worth it. MLB said "Yea" to an $800 million deal. Only the Chicago Cubs and the Dodgers sold for more, at $845 million and — when the parking lot side deal was added in — $2.3 billion, respectively.

Speaking of the Dodgers, there’s some of their DNA in the new ownership group. One-time Dodgers owners Peter O’Malley’s sons Kevin and Brian have joined pro golfer Phil Mickelson and San Diego businessman Ron Fowler to form the Padres new ownership group. Two of O’Malley’s nephews are also in on the deal. Fowler, interestingly, was also involved with a minority ownership group run by former Padres CEO Jeff Moorad. 

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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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Will the Padres be sold by the All-Star break?

San Diego Padres v Arizona Diamondbacks

Norm Hall/Getty Images

Chase Headley of the San Diego Padres dives for a ground ball against the Arizona Diamondbacks. The team is in negotiations with potential new owners, but may not seal the deal in time for the All-Star Game.

Last week, there was some serious speculation that the San Diego Padres would be sold by current owner John Moores to a group led by the O'Malley family (of Dodgers fame) with investors that include pro golfer Phil Mickelson in time for the All-Star Game, which takes place on July 10. 

We're obviously running out of days for that to happen. However, the O'Malley group is reported to be in "exclusive" negotiations with Moores, over a purchase price that's been pegged at $800 million. Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig has also all but given the deal his blessing

There were some questions about how the deal would be financed, based on problems Peter O'Malley encountered with Korean investors when he entered bidding for the Dodgers earlier this year. But it now appears that the O'Malley bid for the Padres doesn't involve that funding channel.

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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

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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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