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Disney family to bid for Dodgers, sources say

Stanley Gold, who runs the investment firm for the family of the late Roy Disney, is in talks with investors about buying the Dodgers, sources say.

January 07, 2012|By Bill Shaikin
  • Stanley Gold, right, with the late Roy Disney in 2004.
Stanley Gold, right, with the late Roy Disney in 2004. (Ricardo DeAratanha / Los…)

The Disney name graced the last World Series champion in Southern California. The Disney name could grace the next World Series champion in town too, if Stanley Gold succeeds in his bid to buy the Dodgers.

The family of the late Roy Disney has partnered with Gold, entrusting the man who runs the family investment firm to lead the charge for the Dodgers and try to restore prominent local ownership to the team.

The partnership was disclosed Saturday by a person familiar with the bid but not authorized to discuss it. Neither Gold nor any member of Roy Disney's family would comment Saturday, spokesman Terry Fahn said.

With a star-studded and deep-pocketed roster of bidders that could feature the likes of Magic Johnson, Joe Torre, Mark Cuban and Peter O'Malley, outgoing owner Frank McCourt appears to believe the Dodgers can sell for at least $1.6 billion.

Gold is in discussions with potential investors, according to two people familiar with the talks. Roy Disney, the nephew of Walt Disney, had a net worth of $1.4 billion in 2007, according to Forbes, before his divorce. The current net worth of the Roy Disney family is unclear.

The Walt Disney Co. owned the Angels when they won the World Series in 2002, then sold the team the next year. The Roy Disney family would hold the Dodgers as a private investment.

"They would guard the Dodger name the way they guard the Disney name," the person said.

Gold is perhaps best known for joining Roy Disney in a public push for the ouster of Michael Eisner as chief executive of the Walt Disney Co.

Gold serves on the USC Board of Trustees. So does Rick Caruso, the developer aligned with Torre on a Dodgers bid. So, too, does Jamie McCourt, the former Dodgers chief executive and the ex-wife of Frank McCourt.

With Fox Sports and the Dodgers still in litigation, a mediator recently broached the idea of Frank McCourt selling the team to Fox so that McCourt could get a guaranteed sale price and Fox could secure the Dodgers' long-term television rights, according to a person familiar with the talks.

Under that plan, Fox then would have facilitated a sale to another party, but the trial balloon was shot down over the potential price McCourt might accept to forgo an auction. According to the person familiar with the talks, Fox proposed a price in the range of $1.2 billion, McCourt proposed a price in the range of $2 billion, and neither side expressed much interest in meeting halfway.

Dodgers spokesman Robert Siegfried and Fox spokesman Chris Bellitti each declined to comment on the mediation. Bellitti, however, wanted to make one point clear on behalf of Fox.

"The company has no interest in ownership of the Dodgers," he said.

bill.shaikin@latimes.com

twitter.com/BillShaikin

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