Frank McCourt gets offer: The Reds are coming?
McCourt’s bankrupt Dodgers are not for sale, at least officially, but The Times’ Bill Shaikin reports that that hasn’t stopped him from receiving a record $1.2-billion cash offer from Bill Burke and friends.
Burke’s financing comes from "certain state-owned investment institutions of the People's Republic of China" as well as unidentified American investors.
This is a test: How badly do you really want McCourt out?
Bad enough for him to sell the team to a man most know next to nothing about, backed essentially by the largest communist government on Earth?
Talk about your sexy offers.
The economy is so incestuously intertwined among various governments already, maybe that doesn’t offer you the slightest pause. Though it might give pause to Major League Baseball. It’s one thing to allow a significant Japanese investment presence in the purchase of the Seattle Mariners, and something else to almost allow the People’s Republic of China to own the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Burke would offer one historic aspect to the proposed purchase. The team that gave MLB its first black player would have the first black majority owner.
Flak Steve Sugerman, whose job is apparently to say McCourt has no comment, said McCourt had no comment.
McCourt has said repeatedly he has no interest in selling the Dodgers, but reality has to be settling in at some point. His only lifeline is to get a new TV broadcasting-rights deal, which means once again mortgaging the future to pay off past mistakes. Hard to see that ever being approved by Commissioner Bud Selig, or a bankruptcy judge.
If nothing else, the flag is up. Lots of people have been lurking in the shadows, waiting for the team to be put up for sale before stepping forward. Now, apparently uninvited, someone has and with a serious offer. Will others follow or wait out the bankruptcy proceedings?
Offering $1.2 billion figures to get everyone’s attention, maybe even McCourt’s. He and then-wife Jamie bought the team in 2004 for $430 million. That’s a nifty profit of $770 million over seven years. Of course, he reportedly is over $500 million in debt.
Personally, I can’t see this offer flying, but then I never figured the McCourts would be approved, either. The offer is reportedly open for 21 days.
At one time, McCourt had visions of bringing in Chinese investors to pursue soccer teams and the NFL. There’s too much irony here, and that’s not even counting that Burke’s L.A. Marathon is now owned by … McCourt.
Burke could be just the local guy acting as a figurehead for a foreign group, or the man behind it all. Right now, there’s more unknown than known, and not a whole lot of time to learn it.
Guess the Dilbeck Investment Group better get a move on. First bid is on the table.
-- Steve Dilbeck
Photo: The right field scoreboard as viewed from the Dodger Stadium parking lot. Credit: Reed Saxon / Associated Press