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Ron Burkle might still have a role in future of Dodgers

Source says that the billionaire, who did not bid on the team, might consider backing a group led by Rick Caruso and Joe Torre, or one headed by Stanley Gold and the family of the late Roy Disney.

January 28, 2012|By Bill Shaikin
  • Ron Burkle, who ranked fifth on the Los Angeles Business Journal's most recent listing of wealthiest Angelenos, did not bid on the Dodgers but might consider backing certain groups that did.
Ron Burkle, who ranked fifth on the Los Angeles Business Journal's… (Andrew McPherson )

On the day after Frank McCourt agreed to sell the Dodgers, billionaire Ron Burkle issued a statement that indicated he would consider buying the team.

"It is one of the best brands in all of sports," Burkle said. "And, like many people, I'd be very proud to be a part of its future."

Burkle did not bid on the Dodgers, but he might still play a part in the future of the team. With the opening round of bidding concluded, Burkle might consider backing groups led by Rick Caruso or Stanley Gold, according to a person familiar with the sale process but not authorized to discuss it.

McCourt and his bankers cut the list of prospective owners Friday. Caruso and former Dodgers manager Joe Torre head one group; Gold and the family of the late Roy Disney head another.

Groups led by Magic Johnson, former Dodgers owner Peter O'Malley and New York media executive Leo Hindery also remain in contention. The remaining bidders also are thought to include Beverly Hills developer Alan Casden, SAC Capital Advisors chief Steven Cohen and St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke.

The prospective owners that made the cut apparently convinced McCourt and his bankers they had the interest and resources to participate in bidding that the Dodgers owner believes will top $1.5 billion.

It is uncertain how many other parties remain in contention.

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban confirmed via email that he had been eliminated from consideration. Veteran baseball executive and former agent Dennis Gilbert also is out of the running, as are former Dodgers stars Steve Garvey and Orel Hershiser.

Burkle, whose net worth is estimated at $3.2 billion by Forbes, is co-owner of the NHL's Pittsburgh Penguins. He has pursued the Pittsburgh Pirates, Washington Nationals and the NBA's Sacramento Kings in recent years, and has a home in Beverly Hills.

However, he has moved his primary residence to London. He opted not to bid on the Dodgers on his own, but he would consider supporting a Los Angeles-based group, the person familiar with the process said. The person specifically cited the names of Caruso and Gold.

Burkle ranked fifth on the Los Angeles Business Journal's most recent listing of wealthiest Angelenos.

Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, the richest man in Los Angeles, has met with several bid groups. He bought Johnson's ownership stake in the Lakers, and people in the Dodgers bidding process expect him to join Johnson's group.

The second- and fourth-wealthiest men in town, Eli Broad and David Geffen, have spoken publicly in support of Cohen's bid for the Dodgers.

bill.shaikin@latimes.com

twitter.com/BillShaikin

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