There are only three bidders left with offers on the table to purchase the Los Angeles Dodgers, a team that could quickly become the second most valuable franchise in Major League Baseball, behind only the Yankees. One of those bidders is St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke, according to Bloomberg.
The common link between the last three standing: a solid financing plan. Cash.
Kroenke's spot as one of three bidders still in the hunt should come as no surprise. An analysis of the situation from Maury Brown earlier in the week figured Kroenke in third place for the team, based largely on a solid finance plan that includes a significant equity of cash up front.
The group headed by Steven Cohen reportedly has the best offer on the table with a reported $900 million in cash up front. Cohen's group also picked up a key tie to the LA community, bringing philanthropist and Los Angeles' richest man Patrick Soon-Shiong into his group.
A third group headed by Magic Johnson and Stan Kasten is also in the mix. They have the highest offer for the team at $1.6 billion. Cohen's bid is a reported $1.4 billion. His and the Magic/Kasten bids are considered the favorites to land the team.
Cash is king with the Dodgers asking for bankruptcy protection and a need to satisfy creditors. A large cash outlay in a bid is desirable because it can take the team out of financial hot water immediately, without borrowing against future profits and, more importantly, television revenue. With the bills paid right off the bat, the Dodgers can get back to being a profitable baseball team.
Not much is known about Kroenke's bid for the team, a credit to his leak-proof organization (no small accomplishment in today's media landscape). Many believe, for obvious reasons, that he has the ability to pay a significant portion of the price in cash.
The other two groups are considered favorites over Kroenke because of their ties to the LA community as well as the MLB fraternity. Stan Kasten ran the Braves and the Nationals, helping transition those teams to new owners and viability. The Cohen group has names like Tony La Russa involved, set for front office roles.
Kroenke bring cross-ownership questions to the table, something pundits speculate could be uncomfortable with baseball folks. Of course, he has made it to the final cut of three with the winner to be announced by April 1, so they obviously did not have too big an issue with the sticky situation regarding Kroenke and the Rams.
If Kroenke does end up with the Dodgers, it does not make a Rams move imminent. There is no team in LA currently, thus no cross-ownership violation.
I don't wonder sometimes if Kroenke wants to buy the Dodgers, turn it over to his son, but keep a potential television network that could be very profitable, the same thing he did with his Denver franchises.
The NFL is not coming to LA in 2012. It could come to LA in 2013, or it might not happen until the current collective bargaining agreement expires, especially if the NFL would prefer and expansion team there. The point is, the NFL could come to LA at any time after Jan. 1, 2013.
If Kroenke owns the Dodgers, it gives him an advantage in bringing the NFL to the nation's second largest market. He could turn Chavez Ravine into a dual-purpose facility, getting into the lucrative stadium business without handing over the bulk of the profits from the stadium to AEG or Ed Roski, if those deals even get off the ground.
The winning bidder for the Dodgers could be announced sometime next week, ahead of the April 1 deadline.