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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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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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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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