Sale of L.A. Dodgers Officially Completed

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The Guggenheim group finally closes the $2.15 billion deal, the most expensive acquisition in the history of professional sports.

The Los Angeles Dodgers have new owners.

On Tuesday morning, the lawyers finally finished what has been described as an “incredibly complex deal” to complete the $2.15 billion sale of the team and Dodger Stadium.

The new ownership includes Guggenheim Partners CEO Mark Walter, who is described in a news release as the “control person”; Earvin “Magic” Johnson, who is expected to serve as the public face of the club; and Stan Kasten, an experienced baseball executive who is now CEO of the National League team.

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“The Dodgers emerge from the Chapter 11 reorganization process having achieved its objective of maximizing the value of the Dodgers through a successful Plan of Reorganization, under which all claims will be paid,” the new owners said in a statement. “The Dodgers move forward with confidence -- in a strong financial position; as a premier Major League Baseball franchise; and as an integral part of and representative of the Los Angeles community.”
A bankruptcy judge in Delaware approved the sale following a hearing on April 14.

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The new owners purchased the team from Frank McCourt. The Guggenheim group also bought half of the land now used as parking for Dodger Stadium lot in a side deal under which McCourt retains an ownership stake but apparently not much control. There is much speculation that the land will be developed for commercial purposes somewhere down the line.

On Monday, McCourt reportedly paid his ex-wife Jamie $131 million that was due from a divorce settlement. Had he missed the deadline, she would have had the legal right to challenge the settlement and sale. McCourt is expected to pocket close to $1 billion from the Dodgers deal.

The new group takes over the Dodgers at a time when they are in first place in the National League West, led by spectacular center fielder Matt Kemp.

Guggenheim Partners, which put up much of the equity money to do the deal, also is an investor in Prometheus Global Media, the owner of The Hollywood Reporter.