McCourt to Pay Off Acquisition Loans

Frank McCourt, the owner and chairman of the defending National League West Division Champion Los Angeles Dodgers, announced that a subsidiary of L.A. Real Estate, LLC, which owns Dodger Stadium and the surrounding real estate, has completed a $250-million private placement of senior notes.

L.A. Real Estate, which Mr. McCourt also owns, will use the proceeds from the private placement to pay off the acquisition loans used to purchase the Dodgers, including $71 million in notes held by the team's previous owner, Fox Entertainment Group.

In addition to eliminating the acquisition debt, the new financing arrangement ensures that the team will continue to play at Dodger Stadium for at least another quarter-century. The terms of the placement include provisions specifying that there will be no change in control of the Dodgers or where they play for 25 years. Mr. McCourt has made a long-term commitment to baseball at Dodger Stadium for decades to come.

The transaction, arranged by Banc of America Securities, involved a private placement to a group of U.S. institutional investors of $250 million in long-term senior notes. XL Capital Assurance Inc. (XLCA) issued a triple-A rated financial guarantee of the notes.

The market's quick acceptance of the private offering reflects the value of the assets and Mr. McCourt's success in operating the franchise as a healthy business. When he acquired the team in 2004, the franchise was losing in excess of $50 million a year. The franchise expects to break even this year.

"Our ability to design and secure a new capital structure of this magnitude on such favorable terms represents an enormous vote of confidence by the financial community," said Mr. McCourt. "We are proud of the fact that the top financial institutions in the country believe in our ability to manage these assets in a strategic and prudent fashion. This brings us even closer to realizing our four basic goals for the Dodgers: to bring championship baseball to Los Angeles; to make Dodger Stadium the most entertaining, family-friendly sports environment in the country; to expand the Dodgers' involvement throughout the Los Angeles community; and to run this great franchise as a healthy business."

"Over the past year, Frank McCourt has demonstrated his steadfast commitment to building a strong and healthy franchise in Los Angeles," said Major League Baseball Commissioner Allan H. Selig. "The success of this private placement is another example of Frank's outstanding stewardship. It is good for the Dodgers and it is good for baseball."

"In paying off the $71 million in notes early, Frank McCourt justifies our belief in his ability to build upon the unique legacy of the Dodgers," said Peter Chernin, president and chief operating officer of News Corporation. "We look forward to continuing our long-standing, successful FSN West 2 relationship with the Dodgers and are excited to be a part of their winning season."

"This transaction was well received and reflects the confidence the financial community has in the Dodger brand under Frank McCourt's leadership," said Elliott McCabe, managing director, Banc of America Securities.

Thomas F. Randazzo, XLCA senior managing director and head of the U.S. Public Finance group, said, "Our seasoned industry experts were delighted to have had the opportunity to support Frank McCourt's implementation of a common sense financing plan."   

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