Former NBA Lakers icon and entrepreneur extraordinaire Magic Johnson has won a bid to buy the baseball team the Los Angeles Dodgers for $2 billion, a record price for a U.S. pro-sports franchise, reports the Los Angeles Times. The monumental purchase also makes Johnson the first black Major League Baseball owner.
The agreement was announced Tuesday night by the team’s owner Frank McCourt who bought the team back in 2004 for $330 million.
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Johnson actually led a group of five other business partners who bid on the team and their offer came out on top in bankruptcy court. McCourt placed the Dodgers in bankruptcy in order to stop Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig from gaining control of the team. The L.A. team had accumulated a mountainous debt of more than $600 million, and on top of this, McCourt was in the throes of a bitter and costly divorce with an exorbitant settlement that would put him out of pocket $131 million. Last December, a judge ruled that McCourt could not sell the team’s future media rights, which forced his hand to unload the franchise.
During the auction process, which was supervised by the courts, McCourt was allowed to select a winning bid. Reportedly, the winning bid of $2 billion actually exceeds the appraised value of the team, which stands at $1.4 billion including all of its revenue.
The sale must be approved by the court in a hearing on April 13 and the transaction is set to close on April 30 which is the exact day that McCourt must pay his ex the hefty divorce settlement.
Meanwhile, Johnson is ecstatic about his pending major-league purchase. “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 in a statement.