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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).
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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.
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The bleachers stand empty at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California.
UPDATE: The Disney Family is also still in the running. So a total of five known and two unknown bidders.
•Tom Barrack of Colony Capital, a $30-billion L.A.-based private equity firm
•Magic Johnson, in partnership with Stan Kasten
•Jared Kushner, the boy-wonder son-in-law of Donald Trump who has so far distinguished himself by running a money-losing weekly newspaper, the New York Observer
•The Disney Family (haven't heard much about this bid, to be honest)