Thursday, August 16, 2012

Congratulations! You Made a Sale!

The Dodgers are Darth Vader.

Well, that's probably not accurate.

The Dodgers are The Empire. Whoever owns the Dodgers then, in effect, becomes Darth Vader. I'm looking at you crazy rich guys and Magic Johnson.

So, if you are following along with this metaphor, guess who that makes the Padres? Ok, who said Ewoks?

The rebel alliance was ultimately lead by the son of the leader of the Evil Empire. On August 16th, 2012 the sale of the Padres was completed to an ownership group that includes Kevin O'Malley, son of former Dodgers owner Peter O'Malley, nephew of Peter O'Malley Peter Seilder, Phil Mickelson (more on this in a moment) and headed by Ron Fowler (and this).

Kevin O'Malley is the Luke Skywalker in this equation. Hopefully with more the Empire Strikes Back version versus the whiny A New Hope version. I suppose that makes Phil Mickelson like, I don't know, Admiral Akbar? This metaphor is exhausting. The point is, we drink your milkshake L.A. And next, we are coming for your Death Star.

Now we are mixing movies. Let's move on.

Who is Ron Fowler? I'll be honest. I don't really know. But I do know he is the CEO of Liquid Investments, a beer distributor. Among the products they help distribute:

Dogfish Head
21st Amendment
Ballast Point
Anchor Brewing
New Belgium Brewing

That's some fine beer taste. Any guy who is helping get these beers out to the general public is a guy I can trust. I hope. (Editor's Note: They also distribute PBR, so there's that. A guy's got to eat. And hipsters got to be hipsters)

So far we have a beer guy and the son of Darth Vader on our side.

And then there's Lefty.

The trend in sports ownership these days is to have a face of your ownership group. No team does this better than the Brooklyn Nets and Jay-Z. At this point, I want to play for the Nets, that's how cool Jay-Z makes it seem despite having nearly no actual ownership stake. The aforementioned Magic Johnson in L.A. being only the most recent example.

And now we have Phil. Perhaps the second most famous athlete from San Diego (that may be hyperbole, don't get caught up in the semantics), Phil Mickelson has made a career out of taking high risk shots in high risk situations. He crashes and burns as much as he succeeds. But it's almost always entertaining.

But what Phil is really great at is getting up and down for par. Around the green, pitching, chipping, out of a bunker, Phil knows how to put the ball in the hole when he's close, no matter the lie.

The Padres may be in a bunker right now, but it's a greenside bunker. And hopefully this is the ownership group to get the Padres up and down for that par.

Star Wars metaphors, golf metaphors and a There Will Be Blood reference. My work here is done.


Anonymous said...

Larry in OB said,

We won't know who is in the group until the final closing at the end of the month, but the fact that Ron Fowler is the new chairman and principle owner is a hint.

Ron was part of the Moorad group that owned 49.32% of the team and was rebuffed when trying to take over John Moores' 50.68%. Moorad was out, and Ron Fowler became the spokesman. Under the informal agreement with Moores, the entire club was for sale, including the Moorad group's minority interest. I understand that Moores, as majority owner, could have bought out the Fowler group if necessary, so the Fowler group was forced to put up their near-half of the club they want to buy.

The original agreement with Moorad was a $525 million "price", but included assumed debt - the actual cash was $294 million. The new deal includes assumed debt, and earlier, Moores was said to want an $815 million "price". I'm assuming the debt is $215 million, Moorad was using savings from the low payroll to pay down debt.

It seems to me that, lacking a big bucks buyer, Fowler's group was able to buy a majority interest in the team by being both a seller of their 49.32% interest, and a buyer by joining the O'Malley group. Fowler played both sides on behalf of his group, and found the O'Malleys to pick up what was left of the Moores stake.

The Fowler (formerly Moorad) group ended up buying a controlling interest in the Padres anyway, they're the "local ownership" Bud Selig was talking about, and used the Participation of the O'Malleys to gain the approval Moorad couldn't.

The interesting question is, while Moorad removed himself from any management of the team or representation of the group he formed, does he still have a share as part of the now-majority ownership group?

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