By the end of April, the Los Angeles Dodgers will have a new owner after one of four bidders kicks up enough green to make the sale the highest in North American history surpassing the $1.1 billion that Stephen Ross paid for the Miami Dolphins.
And while it’s been widely reported that Magic Johnson has the highest bid at $1.6 billion, hedge-fund magnate Steven Cohen has set the bar with his $1.4 billion bid being loaded with $900 million in cash. There’s also St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke and a partnership between Michael Heisley and Tony Ressler of which Heisley owns the Memphis Grizzlies and Ressler is a minority owner of the Brewers.
Today on Baseball Prospectus, I handicap the field looking at the strengths and weaknesses of each group. (See Bizball: From Magic to Cohen and More: Handicapping the Bidders for the Dodgers)
Here’s snippets of each groups strength:
Magic/Kasten - While Magic Johnson may be on the masthead, in most circles and reports, the name of the group is going by Magic/Kasten. That’s no mistake. In terms of operational excellence, having Stan Kasten sitting with Magic makes transitioning to new ownership a smooth ride. Remember, Kasten ferried the transition of Atlanta’s Olympic Stadium into what is now Turner Field, and then did likewise for the Lerners with Nationals Park…..
Steven Cohen - Cash. Lots of it. While Cohen’s bid was reported to be $200 million lower than the Magic/Kasten bid, the structure, with its $900 million in cash, is a leg up on the competition and driving other groups to meet the lofty figure. Throwing in Soon-Shoing makes the group practically an impenetrable fortress in the cash department….
Stan Kroenke - If Kasten knows how to run clubs from the president position, Kroenke knows how to own them. As his resume shows, he’s got his fingers in every one of the Big-4 sports leagues in North America, sans MLB….
Heisley/Ressler - Like Kroenke, Heisely has ownership experience with the Grizzles, while Ressler gives strength through minority ownership of the Brewers, an organization that gets high marks in nearly every facet. Total assets of Ares is reported to be $40 billion….
Who will win the Dodgers? Make sure and check the link for details.
Maury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He writes for Baseball Prospectus and is a contributor to Forbes SportsMoney blog.. He is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network (select his name in the dropdown provided).
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