Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Party Of (At Least) Six

With the January 23 deadline only 19 short days away, six bidding groups have already passed the first screen and can advance to the next level towards bidding for the Dodgers:

At least six prospective bidders for the Los Angeles Dodgers have received initial clearance from Major League Baseball to enter into discussions with the New York investment group handling the sale, according to multiple sources close to the process who were not authorized to speak publicly.

Those prospective ownership groups all received "bid books" from the Blackstone Group over the the last two weeks, meaning MLB has given a preliminary sign-off for those groups to enter into discussions with Blackstone. However, that does not mean they would be formally approved by three-fourths of the other 29 owners should they win the auction for the team. That approval will be more formal, thorough and come much later in the bidding process, according to sources.

Two sources close to the process estimated that 10-12 groups have received "bid books" from Blackstone so far, and that more could be distributed in the next few weeks.

Those books reveal only preliminary information about the team's financial state and how it will be sold. More detailed information will be released to prospective buyers after the initial bids are submitted by Jan. 23.

The groups led by former Los Angeles Lakers great Magic Johnson and baseball executive Stan Kasten; land developer Rick Caruso and former Dodger manager Joe Torre; Dodger greats Steve Garvey and Orel Hershiser; and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, billionaire hedge-fund manager Steve Cohen and former owner Peter O'Malley's family, including private equity fund managers Peter and Robert Seidler, have received bid books, according to multiple sources.

Not exactly sure if that's four, five, or six distinct groups listed in that last paragraph (the semi-colons indicate four). The article goes on to say that because it's not clear what's in and out of the deal, it's not clear what assets (e.g., the parking lots?) are being up for sale at this stage. Hopefully they get that clarity soon...