Baseball Insider

No real issues seen over winning Dodgers group's paperwork delay

Guggenheim Baseball Management, the winning bidders for the Dodgers, has yet to submit paperwork to MLB that was expected days ago, but high-ranking baseball sources suggest there is no immediate concern about the winning $2.15-billion bid.

MLB is anxious to get paperwork it expected days ago. But sources close to the winning group say they have no issues whatsoever, financial or otherwise, and are merely complying with the instructions from the bankruptcy court judge, as required. Furthermore, those sources suggest the winning bidders are caught in the middle to a degree. The situation is complicated a bit by MLB's poor relationship with outgoing owner Frank McCourt, who was forced out by baseball after taking the team into bankruptcy.

Some MLB people raised an eyebrow when they saw Magic Johnson, a key figure in the winning group, sitting with McCourt at the Dodgers game Tursday night, but ultimately they probably understand Johnson may feel they need to mantain a relationship with McCourt, who is reviled by top MLB people.

MLB's 30 owners unanimously approved a $1.6-billion bid for the Guggenheim group, which is led by Johnson, Stan Kasten and Mark Walter, but baseball powers are curious to see the Purchase and Sale Agreement for $2.15-billion, which was expected days ago. The paperwork delay was first reported by Tom Verducci of SI.com.

MLB is thrilled that Johnson, a beloved basketball icon, and Kasten, a highly successful longtime baseball executive with close ties to commissioner Bud Selig, are key figures in the new group. As CBSSports.com reported March 28, some existing baseball owners had questions about the group's financing even before the paperwork delay -- although to be fair, concerns were raised about every group, as different owners backed different groups. Much of the new group's money comes from insurance companies contolled by Guggenheim, and some other owners expressed concern on the conferenece call when they approved all three finalists regarding potential regulatory issues and how they could impact these insurance monies.

There isn't a hint of a suggestion from anyone that there is any serious issue, but MLB's sticky relationship with McCourt could be compromising the lines of communication. Anyway, the winning group, is answering to the judge for now.
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