Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Dodgers Report [Print without images]

Thursday, March 14, 2013
Guggenheim had bowed out of AEG sale

By Ramona Shelburne

It seems there is a limit to what Guggenheim Partners will spend.

After spending a record $2.15 billion to buy the Los Angeles Dodgers and the land surrounding Dodger Stadium last year, approving several record-breaking trades and free-agent contracts, and spending hundreds of millions of dollars on improvements to Dodger Stadium, the financial services company that owns and operates the Dodgers finally backed away from a negotiating table.

A source with knowledge of the situation told ESPNLosAngeles.com on Thursday that Guggenheim was among several potential buyers who simply bowed out of the sale process of AEG several rounds ago because the asking price for the sports and entertainment giant was too high.

The Anschutz Company announced Thursday it would retain control of AEG and that Tim Leiweke, longtime president and CEO of AEG, was stepping down. It is seen as a blow to the chances of the NFL returning to Los Angeles, at least in the short term.

Philip Anschutz, the reclusive billionaire who owns AEG, told the Los Angeles Daily News on Thursday that he is still committed to bringing the NFL back to Los Angeles and to AEG's Farmers Field project.

"We are open for business, meaning there's one other party that needs to come to the table and decide what they want to do here," Anschutz told the newspaper, referring to the NFL. "We just need to know where they stand."

The setback to the Farmers Field project immediately re-ignited questions about Dodger Stadium as an alternate site for an NFL stadium. Because of the location and open space around Dodger Stadium, it has been an attractive option to the NFL for years, dating to the O'Malley family's ownership of the Dodgers.

While that door will be open until one side or the other officially closes it, there have been no substantial recent talks between the NFL and Guggenheim, the source said. In other words, the cancellation of the AEG sale process is unrelated.

What does that mean for the Dodgers? A lot actually.

They remain the apple of Guggenheim's eye.