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Category: Peter O'Malley

Turns out Peter O'Malley won't be going home again

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Well, so much for that little fantasy. Peter O’Malley has given up the ghost of returning as owner of the Dodgers.

I was never convinced he had a real shot, not after he came out publicly and criticized Frank McCourt’s ownership, saying it had lost all credibility and he needed to sell the team.

Not that every word spoken wasn’t completely true, but this was back in September 2010, before everyone and his Aunt Gracie was calling for McCourt to step down, long before Major League Baseball’s invasion and team bankruptcy.

Plenty said more severe things, but you had to figure O’Malley’s words particularly stung McCourt. They came from the long-time head of the family that owned the team for 47 years, the family ownership McCourt said he wanted to emulate when he bought the Dodgers from Fox in 2004.

O’Malley was probably the last person in Los Angeles whom  McCourt wanted to hear disparagement from –- though he had never actually mentioned McCourt by name –- and probably the last one he wanted to see come riding in as a white knight.

The O’Malley group, apparently sponsored largely by the South Korean conglomerate E-Land, had made it through the first round of cuts in this odd ongoing auction. But a new, and understood, higher bid is due in the next round this week.

It’s possible that O’Malley, 74, simply looked at the escalating numbers involved in the auction --  speculation is the winning bid will run $1.5 billion to $2 billion -– and determined that the price had  skyrocketed to a completely impractical realm, huge TV contract waiting or not. O’Malley had warned in November about the new owner overpaying; he sold the team to Fox for $350 million in 1997.

Continue reading »

Dodgers' sale: Falling deeper into the Frank McCourt rabbit hole

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Even as we supposedly approach the end of this mescaline-shrouded trip of an ownership sale, the tale continues to grow curiouser and curiouser.

Really, the whole thing is so completely bizarre. The cast of characters is all over the map, beginning, of  course, with Frank McCourt, who bought the Dodgers with equity in a parking lot, mismanaged the team into bankruptcy and almost a billion in debt, and is still about to exit a ridiculously wealthy man.

And then there are the bidders. They include a guy who once interviewed to be their general manager (Dennis Gilbert), a guy who used to be their general manager (Fred Claire), a guy who used to be their manager (Joe Torre), a couple who used to play for them (Steve Garvey, Orel Hershiser) and a guy who used to own them (Peter O’Malley).

Then there are guys who won NBA championships (Magic Johnson), one who owns the current champion (Mark Cuban) and another who owns an NFL team (Stan Kroenke).

There are stupid-rich investment guys (Steve Cohen, Tom Barrack, Stanley Gold), stupid-rich guys who may yet jump in (Patrick Soon-Shiong, Ron Burkle), guys who are agents (Arn Tellum), who built TV networks (Leo Hindry) and actual TV networks (Fox, Time Warner, Comcast). Alas, sadly the Dilbeck Investment Group has been left a financial casualty, although the good news is I do get to keep the 2005 Accord.

Some have advanced and some have not, though apparently they can get slip back in if they only up their initial bid by another $200 million or so.

And yet somehow this ongoing sale still grows more fantastic. The Times’ Bill Shaikin reported that in addition to the original final eight approved by McCourt for the auction, there is a ninth named Jared Kushner, the 31-year-old son-in-law of Donald Trump. Listen, David Lynch hit on the head couldn’t come up with this stuff.

Kushner is the son of New York real estate mogul Charles Kushner, who served prison time for what the New Times said was for “orchestrating one of the more memorable get-even schemes perpetrated in the name of sibling rivalry. He had hired a prostitute to entrap his brother-in-law and captured their encounter on hidden camera to show his sister.” Aldous Huxley on a psychedelic flashback couldn’t come up with this stuff.

Baby-faced Jared Kushner has zero experience in sports management, though that hardly makes him unique in this group. His claim to fame is buying the New York Observer in 2006. He is now on his fourth editor. He also used family money to purchase a Manhattan office building for a record $1.8 billion in 2006, which the New York Times said is now bleeding money.

Shaikin said Kushner family money would primarily be used for his bid on the Dodgers. Ain’t that just swell? A silver-spooned sports neophyte with inherited money and connected to Trump. What could go wrong?

Maybe you think it cannot possibly grow more preternatural, but just wait, tomorrow calls.

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— Steve Dilbeck

Photo: Dodgers owner Frank McCourt bids farewell to retiring Manager Joe Torre in October of 2010. Now Torre could be part of the ownership group that McCourt selects to replace him. Credit: Jae C. Hong / Associated Press

Dodgers web musings: It's the daily question

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The off-season for the Dodgers used to be spent wondering if the new pieces would fit, if they’d be any good, if they had a shot at the World Series.

That would normally be the first question asked by acquaintances, or those I was just meeting who discovered what I did for a living:

How are the Dodgers going to be this year?

Only, not this off-season. This winter it is seldom asked. Now the first question is always:

Who’s going to be the new Dodgers owner?

Like I had some remarkable insight into the curious cranium of Frank McCourt. I usually just reply, "The guy who bids the most." Not trying to be flip, it’s just that those of us follow the Dodgers professionally have no double-secret knowledge of what is really happening behind the scenes that we’re failing to share with the public.

Which doesn’t mean we don’t like to speculate as much as the next guy. Will it be all money for McCourt? If bids are close, does a guy with L.A. roots win out, the guy with a baseball background, the guy who took McCourt to lunch?

Jon Heyman, the veteran baseball writer now at CBS Sports, likes the chances of the Magic Johnson/Stan Kasten combo, particularly if local billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong joins their group.

Heyman  said he heard the bidding is already up to $1.5-billion range, which is certainly believable since Larry King, who was in the Dennis Gilbert group that didn’t make the first cut, told ESPN’s Jim Bowden they bid $1.25 billion.

The Times’ Bill Shaikin reported that at least eight groups advanced into the next round. They’re all stupid rich, and still waiting in the wings are billionaires Soon-Shiong and Ron Burkle, who are still expected to join someone’s group. Or some groups may yet merge, or bring in a group that didn’t make the first cut.

Really, I would tell you exactly what’s going to happen, if I or anyone else, actually knew.

Continue reading »

Peter O'Malley's Dodgers bid backed by South Korean company

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Peter O'Malley's bid to buy back the Dodgers is supported by financing from the South Korean conglomerate E-Land, two people familiar with the Dodgers' sale process said Monday.

If the O'Malley bid is successful, E-Land Chairman Song Soo Park would become a major investor in the Dodgers, one of the people said.

The ownership group also would have investors from Los Angeles. O'Malley has had discussions with Tony Ressler, a minority owner of the Milwaukee Brewers and co-founder of Los Angeles-based Ares Capital, according to a person familiar with the talks.

Foreign investment is not necessarily an obstacle to MLB ownership; the Seattle Mariners' ownership group includes a significant Japanese presence. In November, O'Malley told The Times that he wanted to lead an investment group in which he would return as the Dodgers' chief executive.

E-Land's involvement in the Dodgers bidding was first reported Monday by Korean media outlets including the Korea Herald, which called the family-owned and privately-held company "South Korea's leading fashion retailer." The report did not mention O'Malley but said E-Land had advanced to the second round of bidding on the Dodgers.

O'Malley is one of at least eight prospective owners to make last Friday's first cut. The others include East Coast investment baron Steven Cohen, St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke and groups led by Magic Johnson, Beverly Hills developer Alan Casden, Los Angeles developer Rick Caruso and former Dodgers Manager Joe Torre, investor and civic leader Stanley Gold and the family of the late Roy Disney, and New York media investor Leo Hindery and investor Tom Barrack of Santa Monica-based Colony Capital.

Frank McCourt, the Dodgers' outgoing owner, expects the team to sell for at least $1.5 billion. That would be almost double the previous record price for a major league club, set when the Ricketts family bought the Chicago Cubs for $845 million in 2009.

Under O'Malley, the Dodgers were pioneers in international baseball, particularly in Asia. In 1994, three years before O'Malley sold the team to News Corp., Dodgers pitcher Chan Ho Park became the first Korean player to appear in a major league game.

In November, O'Malley joined Park and former Dodgers pitcher Hideo Nomo -- the second Japanese player to appear in the majors -- in an investment partnership to own and operate the Dodgers' old spring training home in Vero Beach, Fla. Park and Nomo agreed to use their homeland connections to help lure teams, camps and clinics to Vero Beach.

E-Land has expanded its business interests from fashion into such areas as hotels and resorts, restaurants and construction, according to the company website.

According to the E-Land website, the company opened its first U.S. retail store in 2007 at a mall in Stamford, Conn., under the brand name "Who A.U." The slogan for the brand: "California Dream."

RELATED:

Dodgers' auction is a private affair

Tom Barrack, Leo Hindery are latest Dodgers bidders

T.J. Simers: A new Dodgers owner? Careful what you wish for

-- Bill Shaikin

Photo:  Peter O'Malley, second from right, with the Fox ownership team at opening day in 1998. From left, Chase Carey, Bob Graziano, Rupert Murdoch and Peter Chernin. Credit: Jon Soohoo / Los Angeles Dodgers.

 

One last ghastly nightmare of Dodgers and Frank McCourt

Stan1And now to scare the living bejeebies out of you …

One of the more interesting names to surface this week out of the group that has submitted bids for the Dodgers is Stan Kroenke.

That would be the Kroenke who owns the NFL’s St. Louis Rams. The Kroenke who also owns the NBA’s Denver Nuggets, the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche, the MLS’ Colorado Rapids and is the largest shareholder of the  Premier League soccer team Arsenal. Also, it should be noted he started his own regional sports network for his teams in Denver.

Now, I’m just playing devil’s advocate here because, you know, it’s so much fun. But what if Kroenke doesn’t want to just buy the Dodgers, but to follow up on the proposal first suggested by Peter O’Malley and later picked up briefly by Frank McCourt, and also build an NFL stadium in the Dodger Stadium parking lot?

And bring the Rams back to Los Angeles.

Kroenke’s Rams have an opt-out in the stadium lease at Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis after the 2014 season.

The Rams return, USC’s Jeff Fisher is back as head coach, the Embraceable Ewes live again!

Continue reading »

Getting all emotional about purchasing the Dodgers

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Do you love the Dodgers? Do you just love them sooo much? So much than when reason screams — “Stop, what in the hell are you thinking?” — love whispers — “Ah, come on, what’s another $100 mil?”

Love can do that to someone, of course, get them all out of whack, making goofy decisions that turn the rational side of their brain into goo.

And this love affair comes equipped with something money can buy — status. Not just red-Porsche status or even side-by-side Malibu homes status. That’s just so common.

We’re talking the super-elite. Owning not just a Major League Baseball team but one of the most iconic teams in baseball history, situated in one of America’s most glamorous cities.

Bids for the Dodgers are due Monday, and all indications are the investment firm handling the auction could receive up to 20 preliminary proposals.

And one of them is apparently going to pay way more than the team is actually worth. Last March, Forbes estimated that the Dodgers were worth $800 million. Now they’re expected to fetch well over $1 billion. Maybe much more.

Which means you can look at all the flow sheets and income projections and potential TV media rights packages you want, but in the end if you want to come out on top of the auction, the bankrupt Dodgers are going to cost a lot more than makes practical business sense.

Continue reading »

Mark Cuban on buying Dodgers: 'L.A. would never be the same'

 

All the super rich who claim they want to buy the bankrupt Dodgers are facing Monday’s deadline for getting their initial bids in, and that could put a damper on the pre-purchase quotes.

Bidders are required to sign a non-disclosure agreement, meaning they’re not supposed to be discussing the process with the media, outsiders or their favorite latte baristas.

Where’s the fun in that?

Apparently Mark Cuban has already signed up, since he went on "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno" Thursday and was ever so careful not to spill any negotiating secrets, which could simply prove a negotiating tactic.

Leno asked Cuban about the rumor he "might be buying the Dodgers. Any truth to that?” Guess it’s a rumor on late-night talk shows.

Answered Cuban, “I’m not allowed to really talk about it, but …” At which point Leno interrupted and said, “That means yes.” Laughs all around.

Leno tried again, “Would you like to buy the Dodgers if it was possible?” Do his writers read newspapers (or blogs)?

“It could be fun," Cuban said. "Could you imagine? L.A. would never be the same.”

Continue reading »

Putting a face on the next Dodgers owner

Magic

I need a new face. Though friends have been telling me that for years, I’ve finally come to that belated realization. Truth is, the Dilbeck Investment Group (DIG) bid to purchase the Dodgers is flagging.

Despite our enormous wealth, I’m certain it’s because our feisty group lacks an identifiable Dodgers/baseball face.

Everybody else has one.

Maybe Frank McCourt ultimately does select the next Dodgers owner from a pure bottom-line perspective. But if the bids are close –- and keep donating those 10-speeds to Dilbeck Investment Group -– perhaps McCourt’s farewell gift and last attempt at mollifying his shattered legacy is to select a local owner with ties to the Dodgers.

Which sadly, the Dilbeck Investment Group lacks. Although Petros Papakakis was kind enough to offer his services when I spoke with him and Matt Smith about the Dodgers ownership situation on the "Petros and Money Show" at KLAC-AM (570), I fear his Dodger connect could fall a tad short of what the competing groups are putting together.

Now clearly, if you’re Peter O’Malley, your own face is just swell. Ditto with Fred Claire, though he also has former Dodgers bat boy Ben Hwang and A’s ex-president Andy Dolich. Dennis Gilbert is a former superstar baseball agent, minor league player and current White Sox executive.

Steve Garvey and Orel Hershiser have the reverse problem. Plenty of face, gathering investors.

Every other would-be owner is adding someone with an established baseball pedigree.

Joe Torre is Rick Caruso’s guy. He’s the calming face that adds legitimacy to a developer who otherwise has no baseball background. But add Torre, and it’s instance credibility.

Magic Johnson is beloved in Los Angeles and has the kind of name recognition the other groups can’t even dream about, but zero baseball background. So he’s hooked up with former Braves and Nationals executive Stan Kasten.

Hedge fund guru Steven Cohen is stupid rich, but lives on the East Coast, and as far as we know, has never seen Dodger Stadium. Which would be just like the last couple to buy it. Cohen is reportedly adding Steve Greenberg, the former assistant MLB commissioner, and influential sports agent (and L.A. resident) Arn Tellum.

Mark Cuban remains on his own planet, as best serves him.

Other groups will emerge, and will probably have nice face. O’Malley, of course, could probably add anyone he wants with a simple phone call. Which means I need to strike quickly. Hmm, let’s see, Vin Scully or Sandy Koufax? What the heck, maybe I’ll reach out to both.

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Is Joe Torre the right person to take over the Dodgers? [Poll]

Torre-poll_640Former Dodgers manager Joe Torre announced his intentions Wednesday to attempt to purchase the Dodgers as part of an investment group with Los Angeles developer Rick Caruso.

But Torre isn't the only person with ties to the Dodgers showing interest in owning the team. Former owner Peter O'Malley, with a group that includes former Dodgers general manager Fred Claire and former Dodgers batboy Ben Hwang, and another group that includes former Dodgers stars Orel Hershiser and Steve Garvey have also been mentioned as potential bidders.

Hedge-fund executive Steven Cohen's bid was one of the first submitted to Major League Baseball last week.

Other potential bidders include Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, a group featuring former Lakers star Magic Johnson and a group that includes former agent Dennis Gilbert and talk show host Larry King.

Initial bids for the team, which was put up for sale after owner Frank McCourt took it into bankruptcy, are due by Jan. 23.

So how do you think Torre stacks up against the other potential candidates (not to mention those we may not even know about yet)? Is he the right person to take over the Dodgers? Vote in the poll, then leave a comment explaining why you voted the way you did.

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Who needs another out-of-town owner?

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Photo: Joe Torre in 2010. Credit: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times

Dodgers web musings: Who needs another out-of-town owner?

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Not the Dodgers, at least that’s how a great many feel.

No less than Hall of Fame baseball writer Ross Newhan, who’s now retired from The Times but writing his own blog, thinks this is a road the Dodgers have been down enough.

Since Peter O’Malley sold the Dodgers, they have been owned by Australian Rupert Murdoch and Boston’s Frank and Jamie McCourt. The results were turmoil and bankruptcy.

Although I don’t think having an out-of-town owner should be an absolute deal breaker, it certainly is preferable to have an owner who is from Los Angeles, and also with a baseball background.

That immediately points to Dennis Gilbert, Fred Claire and O’Malley.

Asks Newhan: Why go to Connecticut or anywhere else when there are potential and quality owners in the neighborhood?

McCourt has said a community tie will be important when he selects a next owner, but more important than the highest bid?

Also on the web:

-- To those who don’t understand how the judge ruling McCourt can’t sell his media rights along with the team can impact the price (my hand's up), Forbes’ Mike Ozanian writes it could cost him $300 million because it would eliminate bidders with less upfront cash.

-- Dodgers.com’s Ken Gurnick has 10 questions for the team as it enters 2012.

-- Hedge fund king, a would-be Dodgers owner, Steven Cohen and McCourt have at least one thing in common. Cohen knows all about contentious divorces.

-- Times columnist Bill Plaschke gives his 2011 MVP to the fans who boycotted McCourt and drove him to sell.

-- Mike Petriello of Mike Scioscia’s Tragic Illness thinks the Dodgers’ lack of investment in foreign players under McCourt has begun to show.

-- An analysis by the Associated Press on the final MLB payrolls for 2011 shows the Dodgers coming in 12th among its 30 teams.

-- Those looking for optimism for 2012, Sports Illustrated’s Cliff Corcoran thinks the Dodgers can win the National League West.

-- ESPN’s Buster Olney’s rankings of the Top Ten outfields in baseball (Insider status required) has the Dodgers’ trio at No.7.

-- Where are they now (still): Jon Heyman of CBS Sports said Andruw Jones has re-signed with the Yankees for one year at $2 million.

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A look at your 2012 Dodgers lineup

Hedging your bets on the next Dodgers owner

Judge: Dodgers can pay creditors without selling TV rights

-- Steve Dilbeck

Photo: Former Dodgers owner Peter O'Malley, left, greets new Dodgers owner Frank McCourt during an event honoring O'Malley's father Walter in 2008. Credit: Jon SooHoo / Los Angeles Dodgers

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