Murdoch’s Dodgers sell for $400 mil

L.A. baseball team sold to Boston real estate magnate

NEW YORK — Rupert Murdoch has finally unloaded the Los Angeles Dodgers, selling the team to a group headed by Boston real estate magnate Frank McCourt for upwards of $400 million.

Deal, engineered by Murdoch’s Fox Entertainment Group, includes Dodger Stadium and the team’s training facilities in the Dominican Republic and in Vero Beach, Fla. The Dodgers went on the block 10 months ago because the team keeps losing money, and Fox parent News Corp. needs cash to cover its recent purchase of DirecTV.

Major League Baseball’s owners must approve McCourt’s purchase of the Dodgers before the deal can be completed.

News Corp. bought the Dodgers in 1998 for $311 million and used the team’s games as marquee programming for Fox Sports West, its regional networks in Southern California. But for the most part, the team has not developed into the steady winner Fox was counting on, despite splurging on high-priced players. Allen & Co. represented Fox in the transaction, and Game Plan represented the McCourt group.

Separately, the FCC has delayed News Corp.’s $6.6 billion plan to purchase control of DirecTV, a unit of Hughes Electronics. The merger was expected to sail through the FCC, and sources initially believed that it would get the OK in September. But the FCC decided Friday to stop the 180-day clock it uses as a general guideline for considering mergers in order to gather more information and assess the implications of granting Murdoch’s News Corp. 34% of Hughes and control of the satcaster.

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