Bloomberg News

Padres’ Sale to O’Malley Family, Golfer Mickelson Backed by MLB

August 17, 2012

Padres’ Sale to O’Malley Family, Phil Mickelson Approved by MLB

The San Diego Padres are the first major-league team sold since the Dodgers went for a record $2.1 billion in a bankruptcy auction in March. Photographer: Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

The $800 million purchase of the San Diego Padres by a group including the family of former Los Angeles Dodgers owner Peter O’Malley and golfer Phil Mickelson was approved by Major League Baseball.

John Moores agreed this month to sell the franchise he’s owned since 1994 to the group headed by Del Mar, California, beer distributor Ron Fowler. The price includes the team’s 21 percent stake in Fox Sports San Diego, a person with direct knowledge of the transaction said on Aug. 7.

The sale was finished after receiving unanimous approval from the other 29 club representatives at an owners’ meeting in Denver yesterday.

Fowler, the chairman of closely held Liquid Investments Inc., gains control of a franchise that hasn’t won a World Series championship since joining the National League in 1969. The Padres appeared in the World Series in 1984 and 1998.

The team last reached the playoffs in 2006 and this year is in fourth place in the five-team NL West with a 52-68 record.

Fowler will represent the Padres at league meetings, Major League Baseball said in a statement.

O’Malley’s son Kevin and nephew Tom Seidler also are part of the new ownership group. The O’Malleys brought baseball to the West Coast when they moved the Dodgers to Los Angeles from Brooklyn, New York, in 1958.

Mickelson, a San Diego resident who ranks ninth in U.S. PGA Tour history with 40 wins, gains a minority stake in the team. He’s said he’ll leave the business operations to others.

“The O’Malley and Seidler family have been involved in baseball for decades,” Mickelson, 42, said in an Aug. 7 interview before the PGA Championship in Kiawah Island, South Carolina. “They know what they’re doing. I don’t want to interrupt or get in the way.”

Price Escalation

Moores told MLB.com last month that he’s handing the team over to the right people, with a new ownership group that “brings a long baseball blood line to San Diego.”

The $800 million sale price is about 8 1/2 times the $94 million that Moores paid for the team in 1994.

The price escalated after the Padres signed a $1.2 billion television contract with Fox, MLB.com said when the two sides agreed on the sale.

The Padres are the first major league team sold since the Dodgers went for a record $2.1 billion in a bankruptcy auction in March to a group including basketball Hall of Fame player Magic Johnson and Guggenheim Partners executive Mark Walter.

Prior to the Dodgers, the record sale price for a baseball team was the $845 million that Joe Ricketts, founder of TD Ameritrade Holding Corp. (AMTD:US), paid the Tribune Co. three years ago for the Chicago Cubs and Wrigley Field.

To contact the reporter on this story: Erik Matuszewski in New York at matuszewski@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Sillup at msillup@bloomberg.net


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