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Friday, April 06, 2012

MLB Concern Over Lack Of Details In Guggenheim Dodgers Bid May Derail Team Sale

Tom Verducci at Sports Illustrated writes that MLB is concerned the Magic/Kasten/Guggenheim consortium is taking its time in getting information to the league offices in a timely manner.
Several individual owners have joined baseball officials in questioning why the Guggenheim group, led by Mark Walter, Stan Kasten and Magic Johnson, has not filed a more detailed Purchase and Sale Agreement more than a week after the group was selected from among three finalists by Frank McCourt, the outgoing owner who is selling the club through U.S. Bankruptcy Court.

The group was expected to file a Purchase and Sale Agreement with MLB earlier this week, but postponed the filing for two days before submitting a short form agreement that lacked what MLB regards as most of the necessary details. Of particular interest to MLB is a breakdown of where the money is coming from to cover the $2.15 billion sale price and what role McCourt has in the ownership, control and profit-sharing of the Dodger Stadium parking lots.

Until MLB knows and reviews those details, according to sources, concern mounts about how the deal is financed and especially if McCourt stands to continue to profit from Dodger-related operations under the new ownership.

Previously, we have heard that McCourt may retain ownership but not control of the parking lots. My suspicion is more along the lines of something I missed a week or two ago from Ross Newhan (h/t MSTI), namely that the other owners are getting itchy about the possibility of a public company owning a share (and particularly, a majority share) of a baseball team. The idea that the Dodgers might be subject to SEC reporting requirements can't sit well with the other owners, who only too well know that the principle reason for wanting McCourt out was not so much that he was a bad and spendthrift owner as the fact that he lifted the curtain on the inner workings of the Dodgers.

Related: Bill Shaikin reports that the sale agreement forbids the new owners to make comments disparaging to the McCourts. This scumbag cannot go away fast enough.

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Somehow, this doesn't surprise me. This deal seemed hinky to me from the start. Of course, MLB is over a barrel with this financially-ravaged franchise, so they may feel they can't afford to be too choosy.
Absolutely. And as I have mentioned previously, it seems that it's not so much how the McCourts were mismanaging the Dodgers, but that they were seen to be doing so publicly because of the divorce. I'm inclined to believe openness was the McCourts' fatal flaw. With the insane purchase price of the Dodgers, and my belief that RSN money is ultimately a huge gamble, we may yet look back on the McCourt era as a sort of local golden age.

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