M & A Law Prof Blog

Editor: Brian JM Quinn
Boston College Law School

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Baseball teams for sale

According to Yahoo Sportrs in court filings by Frank McCourt's estranged wife, Jamie, she asks for a court ordered sale of the Bums:

Over most of four pages, Jamie McCourt accuses her ex-husband, Frank, of “not operating [the team] in the best interests of the club or the marital estate,” bringing the franchise “to the brink of financial ruin,” and “hurting the team’s good will and hard-earned reputation in this community.” She contends, “MLB is under no obligation to maximize the proceeds of such a sale,” and therefore the McCourts’ profit “stands to be grievously impaired."

According to Forbes, the Dodgers may have trouble making payroll this month:

Today a source familiar with the financial problems of the  Los Angeles Dodgers says the most likely scenario is that the baseball team will be sold in an auction similar to the Texas Rangers because owner Frank McCourt is still from $6 million to $9 million short of the cash he needs to meet payroll this month.

If the Dodgers are auctioned off it will be a big month for sports M&A.   Late last month, news started floating around about a potential sale of the Mets by the Wilpons.  The Wilpons ran in Madoff-related cash flow problems that have hobbled that organization and have pushed them towards considering a sale.

So, if you are a hedge-funder with a hankering to try something new, get your check book out.  How much might a professional baseball franchise in the number one and number two media markets in the US going to cost you?   Here's a data point - the Astros.  Earlier this week, MLB announced the sale of the Houston Astros for $680 million to Jim Crane - who is already being touted as the next Frank McCourt.  That's not nothing.



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