July 31, 2014

Decision on Ownership of the Dodgers Expected This Week

To describe the slow, grinding road toward the eventual sale of the Dodgers as tortuous would be too kind, but my friends, the end is in sight.  The final three bidders have been identified, and per Bill Shaikin, a modified auction will take place with Frank McCourt selecting the eventual winner.  The two parties then have until April 3o to close on the transaction.

While there are lots of details still to be worked out, Shaikin’s article answers some of the most burning questions Dodger fans have.  The most interesting, of course, is what happens to the Dodger Stadium parking lots.  If Dodger fans have their way, they will be part of the sale, leaving McCourt with no stake in Chavez Ravine.  Per Bill Shaikin:

McCourt and his advisers have projected a sale price of at least $1.5 billion. Is that going to happen?
That might depend on whether McCourt includes the Dodger Stadium parking lots in the sale. The bidders would like him to sell the lots. He is not required to do so, and he has said he intends to keep them.

If he does, the offers for the Dodgers could drop to the point in which McCourt might not make much more than $1.1 billion, the approximate amount he needs to pay off debts and taxes, according to multiple people familiar with the sale process. McCourt could bet on revenue from future development.

The parking lot options might not be limited to “sell” or “keep.” A bidder could get an option to buy them a later date, for example, or offer McCourt a share of any development revenue.

So what does that really mean?  Well, if the parking lots are not included and the offers come in “low” (around the $1.1 billion mark), McCourt may change his mind and include them in the deal, driving up the value of the offers and leaving him with a profit after taking care of the debt, taxes and his divorce settlement.  And if I was a betting man, I would say that favors the really rich ownership bid of billionaire hedge fund manager Steven Cohen and local LA billionaire Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong.

But if there’s one thing Dodger fans have learned over the past few years, Frank McCourt rarely does what’s expected, so buckle up and get ready for some fireworks.