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$1.2B bid for the Dodgers: “There are questions within the sports industry about whether this is a genuine offer”

Sep 2, 2011, 8:22 AM EDT

Frank McCourt AP

My first reaction to yesterday’s news that Bill Burke and Chinese investors were offering Frank McCourt $1.2 billion for the Dodgers was that Major League Baseball would be jumping for joy.  It’s probably a good rule, however, to never be content to settle on your first reaction, because stuff that involves billions of dollars is usually a lot more complicated than that.

And, as Steve Dilbeck reports in the L.A. Times, this could be a lot more complicated than that. MLB executives are skeptical of the bid. And, as Dilbeck’s post establishes, there are some good reasons for skepticism. Not to put too fine a point on it, but McCourt’s interests would be served quite conveniently by having an offer like this out there separate and apart from actually selling the team to the folks making this offer.

How?  Well, for starters, McCourt has been looking for minority investors to help him out of his jam.  If there was an offer like this on the table, McCourt could easily point to it and say “Hey, look how valuable this team is! If you want in, it’s gonna cost you more.”  Moreover, as the matter of his mismanagement of the Dodgers sits before the bankruptcy court, he could likewise point to this offer and say “if I’m such a bad steward of this team, why are people willing to give me billions for it!”

Throw in the fact that McCourt has had past business dealings with the Chinese — who are reportedly underwriting the majority of this bid — and it’s enough to at least make you raise an eyebrow about the seriousness of the offer.

  1. Chris Fiorentino - Sep 2, 2011 at 8:41 AM

    Can these same MLB executives who allowed McCourt to buy the team on the financial strength of a parking lot at least wait for more proof than a 2009 overture that McCourt made to Chinese investors before they talk about the veracity of the offer?

    • Kevin S. - Sep 2, 2011 at 8:51 AM

      Put it this way – you do the due dilligance on the offer, and if everything checks out, it’s cool, but everything Craig said is a very logical possibility, so you have to be wary.

      • Chris Fiorentino - Sep 2, 2011 at 8:58 AM

        I agree Kevin that you have to be wary. But these MLB executives and whoever else is working for them should just keep their mouths shut in the public and let things happen behind closed doors and courtrooms. It does no one any good to have these types of quotes come out.

      • lanflfan - Sep 2, 2011 at 4:59 PM

        I agree with both of you, Chris and Kevin. You have to make sure your due diligence is complete before speaking to the public, otherwise you lose all credibility when your foot is shown to be firmly in your mouth. But considering so much of this issue is before one court or another, keeping it private is probably the best course of action.

        I also have little faith in “MLB executives” doing anything other than breathing (being an automatic bodily function and all), let alone doing “the right thing” in any context whatsoever.

        I also have to disagree on Frank doing what he does best, leveraging this offer. Yes, he may have an offer of $1.2 billion, but he also have millions of pissed off Dodger fans no longer willing to spend any money until he is an ex-owner. Any investor (willing to buy a minority stake) worth his salt must take that in account as well, and seems like a deal breaker to me.

  2. kiwicricket - Sep 2, 2011 at 8:48 AM

    “aspirations to build a global sports empire, believing Los Angeles was perfectly positioned as a gateway to Asia.”

    Now I know the guy is a lunatic.

  3. kiwicricket - Sep 2, 2011 at 9:04 AM

    But Franky had just gone and re-hired his (more) expensive daily hair-dresser after the good news!

  4. Bill - Sep 2, 2011 at 9:53 AM

    Lenny Dykstra has to be involved in this somehow.

  5. dlevalley - Sep 2, 2011 at 11:57 AM

    “What is a bankrupt, father?” asked Euginie.

    “A bankrupt,” replied her father, “is guilty of the most dishonourable action that can dishonour a man.”

    “It must be a very great sin,” said Mme Grandet, “and our brother will perhaps be eternally lost.”

    “There you are with you preachments,” her husband retorted, shrugging his shoulders. “A bankrupt, Eugenie,” her father continued, “is a thief whom the law unfortunately takes under its protection. People trusted Guillauma Grandet with their goods, confiding in his character for fair dealing and honesty; he has taken all they have, and left them nothing but their eyes to weep with. A bankrupt is worse than a highwayman; a highwayman sets upon you, and you have a chance to defend yourself; he risks his life besides, while the other – he is disgraced in fact.”

    Honore de Balzac, Eugenie Grandet 108 (1833)

    • natstowngreg - Sep 2, 2011 at 12:46 PM

      I ask you this. my friends. At what other sports blog could you get a quotation from Balzac?

      • APBA Guy - Sep 2, 2011 at 12:52 PM

        Especially from Eugenie Grandet, one of my favorites.

      • koufaxmitzvah - Sep 3, 2011 at 10:11 PM

        You said, “Balzac.”

    • tashkalucy - Sep 3, 2011 at 11:47 AM

      The US Federal Government is bankrupt.

      Most state governments, including California, are bankrupt.

      Now I can’t stand Frank McCourt. But what he does with his money is his business. He can lose it all, that’s fine with me. But what my elected officials do with my money is MY business, and I don’t like it one bit. They gave away my Social Security pension money, and were so happy with the job they did that they voted themselves outrageous retirement benefits. Swell.

      Don’t know when reality will hit many of you. But I’ve been buying gold/silver since 2001, and when the US Dollar becomes officially worthless, perhaps I’ll buy the Dodgers.

      • Kevin S. - Sep 3, 2011 at 8:30 PM

        The US Federal Government is bankrupt.

        Most state governments, including California, are bankrupt.

        You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

        Also, they did not give away your Social Security money. The money you paid in went to the retirees before you. Always has, since the first bout never paid in. Social Security is facing problems because there are too many of you and not enough of me. Next time, learn before you rant. It’ll make you look like slightly less of an ignoramus.

  6. schrutebeetfarms - Sep 2, 2011 at 1:21 PM

    I don’t think he should deal with the Chinese, not after what they did to Jack Bauer.

  7. purnellmeagrejr - Sep 2, 2011 at 2:32 PM

    They left out the part where they’d be moving to team to Beijing.

  8. dogsweat1 - Sep 3, 2011 at 3:32 PM

    William Hung new owner of the Dodgers.

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