Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times brought surprising news to us today, which sparked a lot of discussion on the future ownership of the team.
Frank McCourt has been offered $1.2 billion to sell the Dodgers, The Times has learned.
The bid terms proposed by the Burke group call for an all-cash payment to buy the Dodgers, all real estate related to the team and the team’s media rights, according to the letter. Attorneys for McCourt have said he could try to keep Dodger Stadium and the surrounding parking lots even if he sold the team.
Initially, my reaction was that it’s a no-brainer decision.
“Get rid of Frank McCourt?”
“Yes, please! My dreams have come true!”
The more I dug into the bid though, the more skeptical I got.
The letter was presented on behalf of the Burke group by Signal Capital Management of New York. The firm has offices in Beijing, according to its website. Shane Rodgers, chairman and chief executive officer of the firm, said in an email that the firm would not comment “on any potential or proposed transactions.”
The letter did not specify who would finance the Burke bid, other than to say the money would come from “certain state-owned investment institutions of the People’s Republic of China” as well as unidentified American investors. Foreign investment is not necessarily an obstacle to MLB ownership; the Seattle Mariners’ ownership group includes a significant Japanese presence.
Foreign involvement, in general, leaves me a bit skeptical, because it’s always questionable whether they know the game, whether tradition matters, and whether they would make winning a priority. These concerns are especially true because of the shady nature of the investors in this deal.
Yes, the bid is fronted by Bill Burke, but until we know the extent of control he has as a result, it’s meaningless. As of now, the terms imply he is simply the figurehead, and anonymous investors both foreign and domestic are the main source of funds.
To call me skeptical of that is an understatement.
I’m not saying the Dodgers shouldn’t be sold or that this offer shouldn’t be considered, but I’d rather this situation not become another case of be careful what you wish for.