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Magic Johnson group buys the L.A. Dodgers

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
March 28th, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

A group led by Lakers legend Magic Johnson emerged this week as the new owners of the Dodgers, ending months of uncertainty for the troubled baseball franchise. Johnson guided the Lakers to five NBA championships during the "Showtime" era of the 1980s. He is also a partner in the group along with longtime baseball executive Stan Kasten and movie executive Peter Guber. The controlling owner is Mark Walter, chief executive officer of Guggenheim Partners, a Chicago-based financial services company.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Walter and McCourt met in New York privately this week, coming to an agreement shortly after Major League Baseball owners approved three final bidders.

The winning group paid a record-breaking purchase of a major sports franchise, $2 billion for the team, according to an announcement issued jointly with previous owner Frank McCourt.

"I am thrilled to be part of the historic Dodger franchise," Johnson said in the statement. Johnson added that the new owners "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."

After taking the team into bankruptcy last year, McCourt had sought to retain control of the parking lots surrounding the ballpark. McCourt and "certain affiliates" of the new ownership will be "forming a joint venture, which will acquire the Chavez Ravine property for an additional $150 million."

Johnson's group will control the parking lots for Dodgers games as well as work with McCourt on any future development.

McCourt said the sale "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."

The announcement effectively ended three years of turmoil during which the team's performance on the field fell drastically short while the front office struggled financially.

McCourt chose Johnson's group over St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke and a partnership of hedge-fund billionaire Steven Cohen and biotech billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong.

The Dodgers last won the World Series in 1988, their sixth championship in half a century of O'Malley family ownership. The Johnson group would become the Dodgers' third owner since the O'Malleys sold the team in 1998, following News Corp. and McCourt.

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