A group led by Magic Johnson emerged last night as the new owners of the Los Angeles Dodgers, ending months of speculation regarding the troubled franchise.
Johnson, who guided the Lakers to five NBA championships, is a partner in the group along with baseball exec Stan Kasten and movie exec Peter Guber. The controlling owner would be Mark Walter, CEO of Guggenheim Partners.
Walter and McCourt had a private meeting in New York yesterday, reaching an agreement just hours after Major League Baseball owners gave their seal of approval to three final bidders.
The winning group paid $2 billion – a record for a sports franchise – according to an announcement issued jointly with previous owner Frank McCourt.
“I am thrilled to be part of the historic Dodger franchise,” Johnson said, adding that the new owners “intend to build on the fantastic foundation laid by Frank McCourt as we drive the Dodgers back to the front page of the sports section.”
McCourt said the sale “reflects both the strength and future potential of the Los Angeles Dodgers, and assures that the Dodgers will have new ownership with deep local roots, which bodes well for the Dodgers, its fans and the Los Angeles community.”
Yesterday’s announcement ended three years of turmoil during which the team’s on-field performance went downhill and the team’s front office struggled financially.
McCourt selected Johnson’s group over St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke and a partnership of hedge-fund billionaire Steven Cohen and biotech mogul Patrick Soon-Shiong.
The Dodgers last won the World Series in 1988, their sixth world title in 50 years of O’Malley family ownership. The Johnson group now becomes the third owner since the O’Malleys sold the team in 1998, following News Corp. and McCourt.
Here’s the full press release on the sale:
The Los Angeles Dodgers and Frank McCourt today announced an agreement under which Guggenheim Baseball Management LLC (“GBM”) will acquire the Los Angeles Dodgers for $2 billion upon completion of the closing process. The purchasing group includes Mark R. Walter as its controlling partner, as well as Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Peter Guber, Stan Kasten, Bobby Patton and Todd Boehly. Mr. McCourt and certain affiliates of the purchasers will also be forming a joint venture, which will acquire the Chavez Ravine property for an additional $150 million.
The Los Angeles Dodgers stated, “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.”
Frank McCourt stated, “This agreement with Guggenheim reflects both the strength and future potential of the Los Angeles Dodgers, and assures that the Dodgers will have new ownership with deep local roots, which bodes well for the Dodgers, its fans and the Los Angeles community. We are delighted that this group will continue the important work we have started in the community, fulfilling our commitment to building 50 Dream Fields and helping with the effort to cure cancer.”
Earvin “Magic” Johnson stated, “I am thrilled to be part of the historic Dodger franchise and intend to build on the fantastic foundation laid by Frank McCourt as we drive the Dodgers back to the front page of the sports section in our wonderful community of Los Angeles.”
- WIN: Magic Johnson’s Group To Buy Dodgers With Record $2 Billion Bid… (losangeles.cbslocal.com)
- Magic Johnson Has Bought The Los Angeles Dodgers For $2 Billion [Mlb] (deadspin.com)
- Magic Johnson group to buy Los Angeles Dodgers (fox13now.com)
- Report: Los Angeles Dodgers Reach Agreement with Magic Johnson’s Bidding Group (bleacherreport.com)
- Dodgers announce sale to group that includes Magic Johnson * (laobserved.com)