| LOS ANGELES
LOS ANGELES Jan 14 Major League Baseball
(MLB) Commissioner Bud Selig said on Saturday he was counting on
the bankrupt Los Angeles Dodgers to be sold by April 30.
Terms of the settlement between MLB and team owner Frank
McCourt filed last month stated that McCourt must sell the
Dodgers and the stadium within that time frame.
"I'm confident it will be completed by then," Selig told
reporters at a fundraiser hosted by Beverly Hills businessman
Dennis Gilbert, who is among the potential bidders for the
"We have five or six terrific bidders, maybe even more,"
Selig said, noting that media rights were a big factor in the
deal. "Media rights are important in any franchise sale."
The pending sale of the storied baseball team is heating up
with initial bids expected by Jan 23.
Prospective bidders include a who's who list of sports and
financial heavyweights, including former Dodgers manager Joe
Torre, basketball great Magic Johnson, hedge fund titan Steven
Cohen, media mogul Mark Cuban and sports agent and Los Angeles
businessman Dennis Gilbert who hosted Saturday's event.
Earlier this week, News Corp.'s Fox signed a
nondisclosure agreement with bankers involved in the sale of the
Dodgers, according to a person with knowledge of the process.
Fox does not want to reclaim full ownership of the team but
may seek to become a minority investor in order to retain the
team's TV rights, the person said.
Fox previously owned the Dodgers from 1998 to 2004 and a
spokesman said the company has no desire to own the team, which
filed for bankruptcy in June and ended a long-running feud with
MLB in November by agreeing to auction the team.
MLB in return agreed to allow McCourt to sell media rights
to future games sooner than Fox's current contract allows, in
order to boost the value of the team. But Fox fought that effort
in court and this week settled its dispute with the Dodgers.
Media rights beyond 2013 are at the center of the Dodgers'
sale. Fox is the current broadcast partner, but its deal expires
after the 2013 season.
A Fox spokesman said the company has no interest in "owning
The sales process is being overseen by the U.S. Bankruptcy
Court in Wilmington, Delaware. Some sports experts predict the
Dodgers, stadium and some related assets could fetch more than
$1 billion. McCourt bought the team in 2004 for $430 million,
primarily financed with debt. Forbes magazine valued the assets
at $800 million in March.
Interested parties have received detailed offering
documents. After the initial bidding, MLB will be tasked with
narrowing the field to 10 bidders who will ultimately
participate in the auction. McCourt and Blackstone are then
expected to make the final determination in the ultimate sale.