Rumors: Korean Investors Interested In Buying Into Dodgers
UPDATE (March 14, 11:00 a.m. PT): According to Mike Ozanian of Forbes, the Dodgers were valued at $3 billion in relation to South Korean investors purchasing a stake of the team:
A potential deal in which a South Korean sovereign fund would invest in the Los Angeles Dodgers places a $3 billion valuation on the Major League Baseball team, according to two sources with knowledge of the negotiation but not authorized to speak about them publicly.
The Guggenheim group purchased the Dodgers for $2.1 billion in 2012.
UPDATE (Jan. 23, 10:25 a.m. PT): According to Bill Shaikin of the LA Times, the Los Angeles Dodgers owners wouldn’t surrender control in any sale and none of the five individual investors are relinquishing their share:
There is “zero” chance the Dodgers’ owners would surrender control of the team in the deal, said the person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the talks have not been confirmed publicly. None of the Dodgers’ five individual investors — controlling owner Mark Walter and partners Todd Boehly, Bobby Patton, Peter Guber and Magic Johnson — would sell his share as part of the deal, two people familiar with the matter said.
Since the Guggenheim Partners took over the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2012, the team has seen a transformation back into a Major League superpower.
While the change hasn’t brought a World Series title yet, the Dodgers appear to be on the right track to sustained success. Mark Walter, Peter Guber, Todd Boehly, Robert Patton, Jr. and Magic Johnson are the partners who bought the team for $2.1 billion. It now appears that a new investor could hold a percentage of the team.
According to Kang Byong-Chol of the Korea Joongang Daily, there are some rumors of the potential buy-in:
A group of local investors are working to acquire 20 percent of the Los Angeles Dodgers in the name of the “Republic of Korea,” according to sources at financial investment and law firms.
The group will use government funds to make it a public purchase:
The consortium aims to include the national pension fund or sovereign wealth fund, which can represent the country, because it wants to become a co-owner of the club in the name of the ‘Republic of Korea,’” said a law firm official.
Since they signed Chan-Ho Park in 1994, the Dodgers have always been popular in the Asian country. While Park is no longer with the team, there is a new Korean pitcher that stars in Los Angeles. Hyun-Jin Ryu was signed out of the Korean Baseball Organization in 2012 after the Dodgers won the bid for his services. Ryu has won 14 games in each of his first two seasons in the majors.
It’s unclear which of the partners is looking to sell his stake because it has never appeared that any were interested in a move so big. If the deal is done, it will be a huge step to solidifying the Dodger brand in Korea more than it already is.