Frank McCourt has finally decided to sell the Los Angeles Dodgers, announcing the decision in a joint statement with Major League Baseball late Tuesday night:
"The Los Angeles Dodgers and Major League Baseball announced that they have agreed today to a court supervised process to sell the team and its attendant media rights in a manner designed to realize maximum value for the Dodgers and their owner, Frank McCourt. The Blackstone Group LP will manage the sale process."
MLB took control of the franchise's business and day-to-day operations last spring, citing "deep concerns for the finances and operations." The team officially filed for bankruptcy in June, and in court filings filed last month MLB accused McCourt of "looting" nearly $200 million from the team's finances.
Despite it all, McCourt was reluctant to officially put the team on the block, even though it's long seemed inevitable to outside observers that the franchise would eventually change hands for a third time since 1998. McCourt purchased the team from Rupert Murdoch's NewsCorp in 2004 for $430 million. The franchise, which includes the stadium and the surrounding land, could fetch a billion dollars or more on the open market.
McCourt received a $1.2 billion offer from a group that included Chinese investors earlier this year, according to the Los Angeles Times, but MLB was skeptical about the genuineness of that offer. More recently, Mark Cuban, owner of the NBA's Dallas Mavericks, told the Times that he inquired with McCourt about buying the team but lost interest after learning of McCourt's 10-figure asking price.
"I don't think the Dodgers franchise is worth twice what the Rangers are worth," Cuban told the paper. Cuban bid for the Rangers last year, ultimately missing out when the team sold for $593 million to a group led by Nolan Ryan.