A person familiar with the meetings said that the group headed by Magic Johnson and former MLB executive Stan Kasten impressed owners with the highest bid, $1.6 billion. It seems that they'd be the frontrunner in Frank McCourt's eyes, as he's looking to get as much capital out of this sale as possible.
However, while billionaire hedge fund manager Steve Cohen submitted a bid that was $200 million less, he pledged more equity, $900 million, that would directly finance the purchase. While McCourt may be going for the biggest number, MLB may prefer to easiest sale.
"There were five strong bides," said Ozanian's unnamed source. Along with Magic Johnson's and Steve Cohen's group, the other three bidders who impressed MLB were St. Louis Rams owners Stan Kroenke, Memphis Grizzlies owner Michael Heisley and investor Tony Ressler, and Stanley Gold, along with the Disney family. Of the five groups with acceptable proposals, the lowest offer was $1.3 billion.
The two groups whose proposals that did not meet MLB's standards are headed by Leo Hindery, former CEO of the YES network and local real estate developer Alan Casden. However, neither group has been eliminated from the bidding.
The April 1 deadline is drawing near and it appears that two frontrunners have established themselves. McCourt will have nearly three weeks to decide which proposal to accept, at which time he'll submit the proposal to MLB for approval. The deadline for the sale to be completed is April 30.
Bill Shaikin of the LA Times is reporting that two more ownership groups have been eliminated. The group led by Stanley Gold and the Disney family has been dismissed, as well as the group led by former YES CEO Leo Hindery and Tom Barrack.
The four remaining groups are led by Magic Johnson/Stan Kasten, Steve Cohen, Stan Kroenke and Michael Heisley/Tony Ressler.
Gold/Disney and Hindery/Barrack have the option to appeal to a mediator in order for their bids to be reconsidered. Alan Casden, whose bid was rejected yesterday, appealed but was unsuccessful.
MLB is expected to submit the four remaining bids to the league's owners next week for their approval. McCourt has the power to appeal to re-instate any of the rejected groups, but it's unclear if he will. The process seems to be on schedule for the April 1 selection deadline.
Patrick Soon-Shiong, the richest man in Los Angeles, has joined Steve Cohen's ownership group, according to Bill Shaikin of the LA times. With Cohen's already impressive offer of $1.4 billion, including $900 million in cash, the group now has more than enough resources to outbid the group led by Magic Johnson and Stan Kasten, who entered a bid of $1.6 billion. Alternately, Soon-Shiong could infuse more equity into the deal, possibly allowing the group to have more than $1 billion in cash available in their offer. This move, for me, gives Cohen's group the edge as the frontrunner to buy the team.
Update: Dodgers Bidders Down to Final Four
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