Report: MLB to vote on Dodgers finalists

Major League Baseball owners scheduled a teleconference for Tuesday to vote on the three remaining groups bidding to buy the bankrupt Los Angeles Dodgers from Frank McCourt.

A person familiar with the call, speaking on condition of anonymity because no announcement was made, said the call was scheduled for 5 p.m. EDT.

All three were expected to be approved as finalists, with McCourt selecting the winner. The groups are:

• Former Los Angeles Lakers star Magic Johnson; former Atlanta Braves and Washington Nationals President Stan Kasten; and Mark Walter, chief executive officer of the financial services firm Guggenheim Partners.

• Stan Kroenke, whose family properties include the NFL’s St. Louis Rams, the NBA’s Denver Nuggets and the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche, and who is majority shareholder of Arsenal in the English Premier League.

• Steven Cohen, founder of the hedge fund SAC Capital Advisors and a new limited partner of the New York Mets; biotechnology entrepreneur Patrick Soon-Shiong; and agent Arn Tellem of Wasserman Media Group.

After the vote, McCourt’s financial adviser, Blackstone Group, will conduct a private auction with the finalists supervised by mediator Joseph Farnan Jr., a former federal judge appointed by U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Kevin Gross in Delaware.

McCourt is to select the winner by Sunday, submit the agreement to the bankruptcy court by April 6 and complete the sale by April 30, the day he is to make a $131 million divorce settlement payment to former wife Jamie.

The current bids are all $1.4 billion to $1.6 billion and include the parking lots surrounding Dodger Stadium, which McCourt has said are not for sale. The sale price will be a record for a baseball team.

If the final agreement is significantly different from the offers as of Tuesday, MLB has the right to review the deal again.

There was some concern among MLB officials about the Guggenheim bid, because some of the money was coming from insurance companies that are owned by Guggenheim. In addition, Kroenke’s bid could be complicated by an NFL rule against owning a team in a different sport.

Already eliminated were five bids that initially had been submitted to MLB for consideration:

• Alan Casden, chief executive officer of the Beverly Hills real estate company Casden Properties.

• Leo Hindery, managing partner of the private equity firm InterMedia Partners and former chief executive officer of the YES Network, and Marc Utay, managing partner of the private equity firm Clarion Capital Partners.

• Jared Kushner, publisher of The New York Observer and son-in-law of real estate developer Donald Trump.

• Stanley Gold, chief executive officer of Shamrock Holdings, the investment company of the family of the late Roy Disney.

• Memphis Grizzlies owner Michael Heisley and Tony Ressler of the assets firm Ares Management.

McCourt paid $430 million to buy the team, Dodger Stadium and 250 acres of land that include the parking lots in 2004 from the FOX division of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. The team’s debt stood at $579 million as of January, according to a court filing, so even after the divorce payment he stands to make several hundred million dollars.