Dodgers Eye Baseball Amid Sale
Jan. 22, 2003
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ While the Los Angeles Dodgers reportedly are up for sale, it will be business as usual for the team, a spokesman said Tuesday.
``This is not something that Bob Daly (Dodgers CEO) nor anyone else here is dealing with. It's more of a News Corp. as parent company issue,'' said Derrick Hall, the team's senior vice president for communications.
``It's our responsibility to remain focused on the upcoming season and ensure that this does not become a distraction. It should not, and it also should have no effect due to the fact that we operate independently.''
News Corp. has hired an investment banking firm to search for a buyer for the Dodgers and has held preliminary negotiations with several potential bidders, the Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday.
The company is seeking more than $400 million for the Dodgers and Dodger Stadium, according to the newspaper, which quoted anonymous sources familiar with the situation.
Earlier this month, the company denied any active plans to sell the Dodgers after speculation surfaced in Australia, where News Corp. is based. Major league baseball, which must be notified of any serious offers, has said it has no knowledge of a possible sale.
The Times said the company has retained Allen & Co. to locate a buyer.
News Corp. bought the Dodgers from the O'Malley family in 1997 for a then-record $310 million. The company has spent an additional $200 million trying to build a successful team and renovate Dodger Stadium.
Attendance improved last season as the Dodgers finished third in the National League West. But the team has lost nearly $100 million over the last two years as its payroll became one of the league's highest.