Magic Johnson and investors become new owners of L.A. Dodgers
Magic Johnson was the talk of the town Wednesday after it was announced the former Lakers superstar and a group of investors will be the new owners of the Dodgers after paying a record $2 billion.
The Lakers legend joined longtime baseball executive Stan Kasten, movie executive Peter Guber and Mark Walter, chief executive officer of a Chicago financial services company.
The purchase was announced Tuesday night in a joint statement by the new owners and the selling owner, Frank McCourt.
"I am thrilled to be part of the historic Dodger franchise," Johnson said in a statement.
In the statement, McCourt said the sale "reflects both the strength and future potential of the Los Angeles Dodgers, and assures that the Dodgers will have new ownership with deep local roots, which bodes well for the Dodgers, its fans and the Los Angeles community."
The announcement ended three years of turmoil that included a bankruptcy filing. The sale must be confirmed April 13 at a court hearing.
The Dodgers last won the World Series in 1988, their sixth championship in half a century of O'Malley family ownership. The Johnson group would become the Dodgers' third owner since the O'Malleys sold the team in 1998, following News Corp. and McCourt.
If the deal closes as expected, the Dodgers would be owned by an entity called Guggenheim Baseball Partners. Kasten, former president of the Atlanta Braves and Washington Nationals, would run the team.
"Stan Kasten is my man," Johnson told The Times in announcing his bid last December. "He's a winner. He's built two incredible organizations, and he's well-respected. That is what was important to me. I had to get with a winner, a guy who understands baseball inside and out."
-- Bill Shaikin and David Wharton
Photo: Magic Johnson, the former Lakers superstar, is seen at his Enterprises offices in Beverly Hills in February. Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times