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Baseball Insider

Stevie Cohen could be favorite of four powerhouse Dodgers finalists

Connecticut hedge fund manager Stevie Cohen may be a slight favorite among four powerhouse groups that are considered current finalists to buy the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The reason Cohen may be a mile favorite is this: Cohen and the group headed by Stan Kroenke are considered the richest of the four groups, but there's a possibility Kroenke's bid could be complicated by cross-ownership rule from another sport (he already owns the Denver Nuggets, Colorado Avalanche and St. Louis Rams).

The four current finalists (the situation is fluid since others could still try to get back into the bidding) have been preliminarily approved by Major League Baseball. That seemed like a potential hurdle at one point for Cohen since a few employees at his Connecticut-based SAC Capital have been charged with insider trading (Cohen himself has not been implicated). Cohen is also believed friendly with White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf and Mets owner Fred Wilpon.

Cohen instead seems to have become a favorite of MLB by adding a couple veteran baseball people to his management team -- former deputy commissioner Steve Greenberg and also reportedly managing icon Tony La Russa. Veteran agent Arn Tellem is also part of Cohen's management team, and no objection seems to have been raised against him despite his background as a player agent.

McCourt is expected to make his choice based mostly on the deal (i.e. the money) but to a lesser degree on which group will work to rehabilitate his image in Los Angeles (or at least not trash him too badly). The bid are all in the range of $1.4 to $1.6 billion, at this point.

Cohen is reputed to be worth between $8-$15 billion. Kroenke is worth $3.2 billion, according to Forbes, but he is also married to Ann Walton Kroenke, the daughter of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton, so technically he may have more loot than Cohen.

The other two finalist groups are the Magic Johnson-Stan Kasten group and the Michael Heisley-Tony Ressler group. MLB loves the idea of Los Angeles basketball icon Johnson plus Kasten, who formerly was the president of the Atlanta Braves and Washington Nationals. Peter Gruber, Hollywood magnate, has joined the Magi-Kasten group.

Heisley is the owner of the Memphis Grizzlies and Ressler the founder of Ares Management in Los Angeles and a limited partner of Mark Attanasio with the Milwaukee Brewers (disclaimer: I went to high school with Ressler).


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