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LA Dodgers sold to Magic Johnson consortium

Category: Business

Published: 28th Mar 2012 11:20:21

The LA Dodgers baseball club is to be sold to a consortium that includes the former basketball star Magic Johnson.

The club and owner Frank McCourt said they planned to sell the team and Dodger Stadium for $2bn (£1.25bn) to Guggenheim Baseball Management LLC.

The sale could help the club to emerge from bankruptcy.

Mr McCourt and some affiliates of the buyers will also form a joint venture to buy the surrounding property and car parks for $150m.

The deal is subject to approval in a federal bankruptcy court.

The business - one of the most prestigious franchises in sport - has been overseen by a bankruptcy court since June.

That followed a move in April last year by Major League Baseball, the sport's ruling body, to take over the day-to-day running of the club following questions about its financing and a fight for ownership between Mr McCourt and his former wife Jamie.

Mr McCourt bought the team in 2004 from the Fox division of News Corporation for $430m. The deal also gave him ownership of Dodger Stadium and 250 acres of land that included the car parks.

The team's debt stood at $579m as of January 2012.

The sale announcement came shortly after Major League Baseball owners had approved three bidders for an auction of the team which was expected to start later on Wednesday.

Mr McCourt said: "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."

Earvin "Magic" Johnson, 52, played 13 seasons for the Los Angeles Lakers, winning five NBA championships and three Most Valuable Player awards.

He retired from the NBA in 1991 after being diagnosed with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, before returning to the game and eventually retiring for good in 1996.

News Corporation's Fox sports unit and Time Warner Cable are now expected to battle for the rights to screen the team's games.

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