Johnson/Kasten Group Agrees To Purchase Dodgers

WEDNESDAY, 7:40am: The Dodgers sold for $2.15 billion, the world record price for a sports franchise, Bill Shaikin of the LA Times reports (Twitter links). The Cubs had set the previous record for an MLB team with a sale price of $845MM. The new deal allows the incoming ownership group to control parking lots for games, but Frank McCourt and the new group will jointly pursue any development of the lots.

TUESDAY, 11:48pm: The Magic/Kasten/Guggenheim Partners group will in fact control the Dodger Stadium parking lots, reports Bill Shaikin of The Los Angeles Times (Twitter links). There was no auction between the three bidding groups; McCourt struck a deal with Walter after the owners vote today.

10:01pm: The Dodgers have reached an agreement to be sold to the bidding group led by Magic Johnson, Stan Kasten, and Guggenheim Partners according to MLB.com's Ken Gurnick. Dennis Berman of The Wall Street Journal reports (on Twitter) that they will pay $2 billion for the team, by far the most ever paid for a North American sports franchise. The Dodgers have confirmed the sale.

"I am thrilled to be part of the historic Dodger franchise and intend to build on the fantastic foundation as we drive the Dodgers back to the front page of the sports section in our wonderful community of Los Angeles," said Johnson in a statement.

“This transaction underscores the Debtors’ objective to maximize the value of their estate and to emerge from Chapter 11 under a successful Plan of Reorganization, under which all creditors are paid in full," said the team in a statement.

Former owner Frank McCourt purchased the Dodgers from NewsCorp for $430MM in 2004. He will form a joint venture with Guggenheim Partners to acquire the Chavez Ravine property for an additional $150MM according to ESPN's Molly Knight (Twitter links), indicating that the Dodger Stadium parking lots were not included in the sale. McCourt's debt has been estimated at $1.1 billion, so he'll still turn a significant profit with the sale.

The Dodgers are getting the best of both worlds with the new ownership group. Magic brings unmatched local starpower while Kasten provides decades of baseball experience. He has previously served as the president of the Braves and Nationals. Mark Walter, CEO of Guggenheim Partners, will become controlling owner of the team according to Knight (on Twitter).

The Johnson/Kasten group was competing with Stan Kroenke and a group led by Steve Cohen and Patrick Soon-Shiong. All three bidders were approved by the other MLB owners just today.



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