03/28/12 7:45 PM ET
MLB approval needed for Dodgers sale
By Ken Gurnick and Barry M. Bloom / MLB.com
The baseball-record $2 billion purchase by the group that includes Magic Johnson and Stan Kasten was struck Tuesday night. By prior agreement of all parties, the sale must close by April 30 -- the date McCourt must pay former wife, Jamie McCourt, a $130 million divorce settlement.
The owners gave tentative approval on Tuesday to the three final bidders -- the winners; St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke; and a group led by billionaires Steven Cohen and Patrick Soon-Shiong. McCourt then chose the Guggenheim Partners' offer as the winning bid.
"It is extraordinarily exciting for Major League Baseball that Magic Johnson, a beloved figure in Los Angeles and around the world, has entered into an agreement, along with Guggenheim CEO Mark Walter and longtime baseball executive Stan Kasten, that would make them a part of our national pastime," Commissioner Bud Selig said Wednesday.
"I believe that a man of Magic's remarkable stature and experience can play an integral role for one of the game's most historic franchises, in a city where he is revered. Major League Baseball is a social institution with important social responsibilities, and Magic Johnson is a living embodiment of so many of the ideals that are vital to our game and its future.
"The interest in this franchise and its historic sale price are profound illustrations of the great overall health of our industry. This has been a long, difficult process, and I once again want to thank the great Dodger fans for their loyalty and patience."
The bankruptcy court in Delaware, which has been hearing the case for the past nine months, also must approve the sale, which will bring the club out of bankruptcy by paying off nearly $600 million in debts. The creditors are expected to be paid 100 percent of the money, including $150 million loaned to the Dodgers by MLB during this period to keep the club solvent.
A bankruptcy court hearing is scheduled for April 13, at which Judge Kevin Gross will be asked to approve the sale. If all goes as planned, the Dodgers are expected to change owners by May 1.
Ken Gurnick and Barry M. Bloom are reporters for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.