Peter O’Malley has withdrawn his bid to buy the Dodgers, two people familiar with the sale process said Tuesday.
The decision means the O’Malley family will not reclaim the stewardship of the team it owned for nearly half a century, a span during which the Dodgers won all six of their World Series championships.
O’Malley declined to comment. The people who confirmed the decision were not authorized to discuss it publicly.
Backed in part by the South Korean conglomerate E-Land, O’Malley was one of 11 bidders to survive the first cut. Blackstone Advisory Partners, the investment bank handling the Dodgers sale for owner Frank McCourt, has asked the remaining bidders to submit a new offer this week.
However, according to one of the people, O’Malley was concerned he might not win the bidding even if he made the highest offer.
O’Malley, 74, publicly called for McCourt to sell the Dodgers before Commissioner Bud Selig applied pressure for him to do so. In a September 2010 interview with The Times, with McCourt and his ex-wife in the midst of a highly publicized divorce trial, O’Malley said “the current Dodgers ownership has lost all credibility throughout the city.”
McCourt took the Dodgers into bankruptcy last year. He has agreed to sell the team by April 30, the date by which he must pay his ex-wife $131 million in a divorce settlement.
One of the people familiar with the decision characterized it as strategic and said O’Malley and his family remain interested in helping to restore the pride and prominence of the Dodgers in any way possible. In that 2010 interview, O’Malley said he would be willing to assist new owners during a transition period.
“The Dodgers need to be owned by a small but diverse group of Los Angeles people who understand the culture of the organization and the importance of the Dodgers in this city,” he said then.
“If there’s a role for me — temporarily, short term — to accomplish that, I would devote as much time and energy as necessary.”