Fox, MLB file sale objections

Updated: April 10, 2012, 7:51 PM ET
Associated Press

NEW YORK -- Fox is objecting to the proposed sale of the Los Angeles Dodgers, saying the incoming ownership group that includes Magic Johnson has not disclosed whether Time Warner Cable is involved in the purchase.

Fox's Prime Ticket subsidiary filed the objection on Tuesday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware. It asked for written assurance that Time Warner wasn't contributing funds being used for Guggenheim Baseball Management's purchase of the team from Frank McCourt and the incoming owners don't have any formal or informal agreements for the team's broadcast rights starting in 2014.

Fox asked that it be given parts of the purchase agreement that were not filed with the court.

"Our filing today was a routine administrative filing to ensure our rights are protected," Fox Sports spokesman Chris Bellitti said.

Fox, the Dodgers' current broadcaster, has an exclusive 45-day period starting in October to try to negotiate a new contract with the team. The current contract also prohibits the Dodgers from talking to other potential buyers of the media rights before Nov. 30 and gives Fox a limited right of first refusal on competing offers received after that date.

Major League Baseball also filed an objection, saying not enough money had been set aside to satisfy what it is owed by the Dodgers. While the Dodgers have put aside $322,065 for MLB's claims, the league said it was owed at least $8 million as of Feb. 22.

A hearing to confirm the sale agreement is scheduled for Friday before U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Kevin Gross.

"The Los Angeles Dodgers anticipate confirmation of the debtors' plan of reorganization on schedule," the Dodgers said in a statement, adding it views "Fox's objection as without merit."

Tripp Kyle, the spokesman for Guggenheim Baseball, declined comment.

MLB also has separate concerns about the financing of the deal. Guggenheim has not disclosed whether funds from insurance companies it controls are being used, and MLB is worried such funds have the potential to subject the team to state regulators.

Guggenheim Baseball is headed by Mark Walter, the chief executive officer of the financial services firm Guggenheim Partners. Guggenheim Baseball agreed March 27 to buy the Dodgers for $2 billion, including $1,587,798,000 in cash.

In a separate deal, affiliates of the incoming owners and McCourt will acquire the land surrounding Dodger Stadium for $150 million.

Unable to make payroll, McCourt put the Dodgers in bankruptcy last June. The sale is to close by April 30, the day McCourt is to make a $131 million payment to former wife, Jamie, as part of their divorce.


Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press