The Final Five - Will Showtime Be Back in Los Angeles?

It's the second week of Spring Training games and normally Dodger fans would be excited about Opening Day, Dodger Dogs and Vin Scully. But while the Dodgers open up in San Diego on Thursday April 5th, April 1st will mean more than April Fools Day to many who wear the Blue.

April 1st, is the day where Frank McCourt must name the buyer of the Los Angeles Dodgers. And while this isn't news to anyone reading this now, I have been surprised that since McCourt and MLB reached their settlement and set these deadlines, there have been no delays.

That speaks to three things, how much Selig wanted McCourt out, how much Frank needs to collect the cash and having a number of motivated buyers.

Now an article in Forbes says the following:

A person familiar with the meetings held today between seven groups bidding for Frank McCourt's Dodgers and Major League Baseball said the league's owners were impressed with offers: billionaire hedge fund titan Steve Cohenand agent Art Tellem; Magic Johnson and Stan Kasten; billionaire St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke; Memphis Grizzlies billionaire owner Michael Heisley and investor Tony Ressler and Stanley Gold, chief executive officer of Shamrock Holdings, the investment company of the family of the late Roy Disney.

The highest bid per the article was the one from the Magic Johnson and Stan Kasten group at $1.6 Billion. However per sources, the owners were impressed by hedge fund billionaire (and soon-to-be minority share owner of the New York Mets) Steve Cohen, whose $1.4 Billion bid reportedly included $900 Million equity. All told, the five bids are only separated by $300 Million.

Anyone who has been following this story knows that Dodger fans want Frank to sell everything related to the team but he made a deal in 2005 to separate the Dodgers and the stadium from the land where the parking lots sit. And even though Frank took the Dodgers to bankruptcy, he did not put the parking lot land in with the team. And neither the Court nor MLB has required him to do so.

One of the original bidders, Rick Caruso and Joe Torre's group took themselves out a few weeks ago using McCourt's stand to hold on that property has the reason. Now, it could be that Caruso wasn't going to be able to put together the financing or maybe "The Grove" man wanted to build his own mall on the parking lots.

Some fans hoped that the rest of the potential buyers would challenge Frank's stance but the Forbes story said that all five bids did not include the parking lots.

I think MLB will end up approving three bidders, Magic/Kasten, Steve Cohen and Stan Kroenke. Where this deal goes from there wil be left to the man who many thought would be happy to step away from his legal troubles with a million or two, now it seems that he will have a nine-figure payout plus another parking lot with an annual multi-millon revenue stream.

I just hope he will continue to work on building those Dream Fields.

Update Per LA Times:

Major League Baseball is expected to reject two bid groups — one led by Shamrock Holdings chief Stanley Gold and the family of the late Roy Disney, the other led by former YES Network chief Leo Hindery and Colony Capital chairman Tom Barrack — before submitting the four remaining bidders to a vote of all 30 owners next week. The plans were confirmed by two people familiar with the sale process but not authorized to discuss it.

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