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Kasten, Johnson group to buy Dodgers, Dodger Stadium for $2 billion

Los Angeles DodgersIn a stunning financial transaction, an investment group led by Earvin Johnson and Stan Kasten, funded by Guggenheim Partners, have agreed to buy the Los Angeles Dodgers and Dodger Stadium for $2 billion.

The deal was finalized just hours after Major League Baseball owners approved three potential buyers of the team and the storied ballpark.

Technically, the Dodgers, Dodger Stadium and the land surrounding the ballpark will be purchased from Frank McCourt by Guggenheim Baseball Management LLC, with Mark R. Walter as its controlling partner, as well as Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Peter Guber, Stan Kasten, Bobby Patton and Todd Boehly. McCourt and certain affiliates of the purchasers will also be forming a joint venture, which will acquire the Chavez Ravine property for an additional $150 million. The team is reporting the sale price as $2 billion, the most ever paid for a Major League Baseball franchise and associated assets.

The sale, negotiated under the supervision of a Delaware bankruptcy court, will pay all creditors in full.

“This agreement with Guggenheim reflects both the strength and future potential of the Los Angeles Dodgers, and assures that the Dodgers will have new ownership with deep local roots, which bodes well for the Dodgers, its fans and the Los Angeles community,” McCourt said. “We are delighted that this group will continue the important work we have started in the community, fulfilling our commitment to building 50 Dream Fields and helping with the effort to cure cancer.”

“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 said.

Kasten, former president of the Atlanta Braves and the Washington Nationals, will head baseball operations for the Dodgers. Guber is head of Mandalay Entertainment and well-connected in Hollywood circles; he’s expected to bring some glamor back to Dodger Stadium. It’s certainly a small world: Mandalay also encompasses Mandalay Baseball Properties, and one of the teams in the Mandalay tent is the Dayton Dragons (Low Class A; Midwest League) — in which Johnson has a 15 percent stake via trust.

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