Magic Johnson (left) and business partner Stan Kasten were approved to buy the Los Angeles Dodgers for $2 billion, effectively closing out a years-long bankruptcy procedure.
A doubleheader in Delaware Friday ended with a win for the Dodgers. But the team wasn’t on the field, they were in court.
U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Kevin Gross approved of the Los Angeles Dodgers’ plan to sell the team for $2 billion, setting them up to close out a years-long bankruptcy case. Gross used the specifically sporty term to describe the two-part morning and evening hearing that he presided over.
The decision came weeks after Guggenheim Baseball Management, a group that includes former LA Lakers star Magic Johnson, won the bid for the team on March 27.
Former Atlanta Braves president Stan Kasten, who will run the team, and former Dodgers owner Frank McCourt were in court Friday, the AP reported.
With this final approval, the team will be completely signed over to the new management group by April 30, the same day McCourt is to make a $131 million payment to his former wife Jamie as part of their divorce.
"We are pleased to have successfully concluded the Chapter 11 reorganization process," the team said in a statement released Friday. "All the organization’s goals in the reorganization cases have been achieved. We look forward to returning all of our attention to Dodger baseball."
Turmoil within the Dodgers began in 2011 when the team entered bankruptcy. At the time, MLB Commissioner Bud Selig refused to approve a new TV deal with Fox Sports, threatening to nix a deal the team was counting on in order to make payroll and keep the franchise solvent.
After the bankruptcy filing, Selig’s attorneys successfully fought to force the Dodgers to accept bankruptcy financing from the league.
An agreement governing the team’s sale and a process to market the media rights to games was reached last year and will take start in 2014.
Lawyers for Dodgers agreed Friday to give written assurance to Fox, the team’s current broadcaster, that competitor Time Warner Cable was not contributing funds being used for the purchase.
Friday’s hearing helped resolve a number of lingering issues, but lawyers for the Dodgers and MLB sparred over the information being given to the league about the plan.
A lawyer for MLB said the league is owned more information about the plan, which they take issue with, the AP reported. A lawyer for the Dodgers countered that argument saying the team has met all criteria to have the plan confirmed.
The judge agreed, calling the prospective new owners an “outstanding group.”