Bankruptcy court approves sale of Los Angeles Dodgers
By the CNN Wire Staff
LOS ANGELES (CNN) — A bankruptcy court Friday approved the $2 billion sale of the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team to a group that includes former basketball star Earvin “Magic” Johnson.
The price is the most ever paid for a North American sports franchise, according to MLB.com.
“We are pleased to have successfully concluded the Chapter 11 reorganization process. All the organization’s goals in the reorganization cases have been achieved. We look forward to returning all of our attention to Dodger baseball,” the team said in a statement.
Along with Johnson, the group acquiring the team includes Stan Kasten, a former executive with the Atlanta Braves and Washington Nationals, and Guggenheim Partners CEO Mark Walter.
The Dodgers have won the World Series championship six times and, for decades, boasted an intensely loyal fan base.
But in recent years, under the ownership of real estate developer Frank McCourt, the Dodgers made headlines more for their financial woes than for their home runs.
The team’s troubles began when McCourt and his wife, Jamie, decided to part ways. An acrimonious and expensive divorce battle followed.
The couple fought bitterly over ownership of the team. In April 2011, Major League Baseball took charge of the beleaguered Dodgers. Two months later, the team filed for bankruptcy.
In October, McCourt announced that he and his wife had reached a settlement. He is scheduled to pay her $131 million, MLB.com reported. Attorneys’ fees alone could reach $35 million.
In an effort to hold on to the team, McCourt tried to score a $3 billion television deal with Fox, but it was rejected by Commissioner Bud Selig.
Johnson has said the sale will start a new chapter for the Dodgers.
“I am thrilled to be part of the historic Dodger franchise and 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 in our wonderful community of Los Angeles,” Johnson, a former Los Angeles Laker who is an icon in his own right, said last month when the proposed sale was announced.
CNN’s Lateef Mungin and Greg Morrison contributed to this report.