Dodgers announce sale to group that includes Magic Johnson *

AP and the Wall Street Journal are reporting an agreement for $2 billion. Magic's group is fronted by veteran baseball executive Stan Kasten and includes Hollywood producer Peter Guber.

The Wall Street Journal story cites sources close to the process. Left unclear if McCourt retains the Dodger Stadium parking lots.

With a bid of $2 billion, Johnson and partners Peter Guber, Stan Kasten, Bobby Patton and Todd Boehly beat out a group of some of the wealthiest businessmen in the country to land a team that is one of Major League Baseball's flagship franchises. The sales figure shatters the previous record sales price for a U.S. sports franchise, Steve Ross's purchase of the Miami Dolphins for $1.1 billion three years ago.

* Update: Dodgers statement via Dodger Thoughts does discuss who will own Dodger Stadium — McCourt stays involved at least as a partner. New controlling partner in the Dodgers is Mark R. Walter.

The Los Angeles Dodgers and Frank McCourt Announce Agreement With Guggenheim Baseball Management

LOS ANGELES, March 27, 2012 – The Los Angeles Dodgers and Frank McCourt today announced an agreement under which Guggenheim Baseball Management LLC (“GBM”) will acquire the Los Angeles Dodgers for $2 billion upon completion of the closing process. The purchasing group includes Mark R. Walter as its controlling partner, as well as Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Peter Guber, Stan Kasten, Bobby Patton and Todd Boehly. Mr. McCourt and certain affiliates of the purchasers will also be forming a joint venture, which will acquire the Chavez Ravine property for an additional $150 million.

The Los Angeles Dodgers stated, “This transaction underscores the Debtors’ objective to maximize the value of their estate and to emerge from Chapter 11 under a successful Plan of Reorganization, under which all creditors are paid in full.”

Frank McCourt stated, “This agreement with Guggenheim reflects both the strength and future potential of the Los Angeles Dodgers, and assures that the Dodgers will have new ownership with deep local roots, which bodes well for the Dodgers, its fans and the Los Angeles community. We are delighted that this group will continue the important work we have started in the community, fulfilling our commitment to building 50 Dream Fields and helping with the effort to cure cancer.”

Earvin “Magic” Johnson stated, “I am thrilled to be part of the historic Dodger franchise and intend to build on the fantastic foundation laid by Frank McCourt as we drive the Dodgers back to the front page of the sports section in our wonderful community of Los Angeles.”

What luck: After Bill Shaikin of the LA Times has been ahead of the pack on the Dodgers bankruptcy and and sale for more than a year, he was silent as tonight's story broke. At 9:42 he finally tweeted — "So, anything happen while I was in flight?" — knowing full well what had gone down. (The Times put his byline on a story time-stamped 8:20.) Dodgers blogger Jon Weisman tweeted an appropriate appreciation: "Like Christine Lahti at the Golden Globes, @billshaikin has emerged from the restroom to take his rightful place at the podium."

Shaikin later tweeted some updates that cut through to questions about the sale:
"Magic's group will hold news conference Wed in NY."
"Parking lots will be controlled by Magic's group."
"After owners vote today, McCourt struck deal w Guggenheim CEO Mark Walter. There was no auction."

Shaikin later amended the news conference tweet to say the partners will wait until they get back to Los Angeles to have a presser.

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