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Dodgers-Nets marriage: Too big not to fail?

Los Angeles DodgersA proposed investment in the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets and Barclays Center by Guggenheim Baseball Partners, owners of the Los Angeles Dodgers, has reportedly been scrapped after reality set in on all sides.

Guggenheim Baseball Partners, which paid $2.15 billion for the Dodgers in 2012, reportedly held discussions with Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov over some sort of corporate merger. Prokhorov was reportedly seeking an investment in the Nets, valuing the team at $1.8 billion, potentially selling off some 80 percent of the franchise. But he also wanted to keep control of the team. And with Barclays Center owner Bruce Ratner wanting to cash out on his investment — while, incidentally, wanting to keep control of the facility — it looks like Guggenheim Baseball Partners walked away from a deal where they bought in at a premium price without being able to exert any control. And while everyone over the age of 65 was excited about the Dodgers name returning to Brooklyn, a deal appears to be dead. From the New York Post:

Despite reports that Guggenheim’s Todd Boehly flew to Russia to discuss such a deal, a spokesman for the company said Wednesday, “There has never been a proposal, never been a deal to walk away from. None was presented. None was ever seen. [Dodgers CEO] Mark Walter just told me he was never interested.”

Only a week ago, Walter told The Post before a Dodgers playoff game he was hopeful there would be a merger but he had not seen financial data on the Nets or Barclays.

The Guggenheim spokesman rejected any contention that a lack of funds would have affected any talks.

It is unlikely that Guggenheim Baseball Partners could not have raised money to purchase both the Nets and Barclays Center if it was a good business proposition: besides spending big for the Dodgers, Guggenheim Baseball Partners has put some serious money into Dodger Stadium renovations, and Guggenheim Partners, the parent firm, has some $183 billion in assets. And while someday we may see a $1.8 billion valuation of the Nets as a bargain (it’s comparable to what Steve Ballmer paid for the Los Angeles Clippers, but triple what other NBA teams have gone for in the last year or so), it’s pretty obvious the proposed deal was a nonstarter.

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