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Magic’s Group Among 3 Finalists To Buy Dodgers

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LOS ANGELES (AP) — The number of bidders for the Los Angeles Dodgers is reportedly down to three.

The Los Angeles Times reported Friday that the three finalists include a group led by Magic Johnson and veteran baseball executive Stan Kasten; St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke; and a group led by hedge-fund billionaire Steven Cohen and Los Angeles billionaire and philanthropist Patrick Soon-Shiong.

In an unusual process agreed to last year by Major League Baseball and current Dodgers owner Frank McCourt, MLB will consider groups for approval before McCourt then selects the winner of the auction, which is likely to be for a price of more than $1 billion.

McCourt’s agreement with MLB says the auction is to be completed by April 1 and the sale is to be closed by April 30 — which coincides with the day McCourt is to make a $131 million divorce settlement payment to former wife Jamie.

The team, which sought bankruptcy protection in June, has said a sale of the franchise should satisfy all creditor claims in full, either through cash payments or assumption of the claims by the new team owners.

The judge presiding over the case has scheduled a hearing next month to decide whether to confirm the team’s reorganization plan.

The Dodgers sought bankruptcy protection in June after baseball Commissioner Bud Selig rejected a new TV deal with Fox that McCourt was counting on in order to make payroll and keep the franchise solvent.

After the bankruptcy filing, attorneys for Selig successfully fought to force the Dodgers to accept bankruptcy financing from Major League Baseball. They also argued that McCourt had looted more than $180 million from the team for his own use and for business reasons not related to baseball and should be forced to sell the team.

After threatening to seek court permission to enter into a new media rights deal without the approval of MLB, the Dodgers reached an agreement with the league that authorized a sale of both the team and a process to market the media rights to games starting in 2014.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.)

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