* Dodgers want to stop Fox from interfering in team sale
* Fox's "cease and desist" letter sparks Dodgers lawsuit
* Creditors want deadline on company's control of case
By Tom Hals
Nov 16 The Los Angeles Dodgers sued Fox Sports
on Wednesday to stop the broadcaster of the baseball team's
games from interfering with plans to auction the bankrupt
The lawsuit comes just four days after the Dodgers sought
court permission to sell future media rights as a way to boost
the value of the team as it heads to the auction block.
The Dodgers said in the lawsuit that Fox, a unit of News
Corp , had sent a "cease and desist" letter to the
Dodgers' adviser, who Fox said had solicited bidders for a
media rights auction.
"The issuance of the Fox letter was intended to interfere
with the sale of the Dodgers and their assets in bankruptcy,"
said the lawsuit, filed in Delaware's bankruptcy court.
The Dodgers are seeking an injunction against Fox Sports
and unspecified damages.
Fox said in its letter that the Dodgers' adviser,
Blackstone Advisory Partners LP , had violated Fox's
right to an exclusive negotiating period by reaching out to
potential bidders for the media rights.
"This is just the latest chapter in the current owner's
ongoing scheme to avoid honoring his contractual obligations,"
Fox said in a statement. "The full truth of this unfortunate
situation will soon become apparent to all."
Major League Baseball declined to comment. Blackstone did
not immediately return calls for comment.
The Dodgers filed for bankruptcy in June after the league
rejected the team's proposal to sell the rights to broadcast
its games for $3 billion.
Until they reached a settlement this month, the bankruptcy
pitted team owner Frank McCourt against league commissioner Bud
Selig. Then two weeks ago, the league agreed to remain neutral
on the media rights sale if the team were put up for auction.
A committee of unsecured creditors has asked a judge to end
the Dodgers' exclusive control of its bankruptcy should the
team be unable to make progress on an exit plan by February.
Losing the exclusive right to propose a bankruptcy plan
would clear the way for other parties to present plans. Fox,
for example, could ask the court to approve a plan that took a
very different view of the media rights sale.
The Dodgers have asked for exclusive control through April
25. The exclusive period expired on Oct. 25.
The Dodgers said in a statement on Wednesday that the media
sale was the best way to maximize the value of the team and
The Dodgers still have not said how they would run an
auction that would satisfy both Selig and McCourt, who bought
the Dodgers for $430 million in 2004.
One adviser who is discussing a possible bid with several
interested groups said it was unclear how the process was going
to move quickly.
This person, who declined to be identified, said it would
be impossible to value the team until the media rights sale was
completed, which could take months.