Magic Johnson-Led Investment Group to Purchase L.A. Dodgers For $2 Billion

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It looks like one Los Angeles sports institution is buying another.

A group of investors including former L.A. Lakers star Magic Johnson and longtime baseball exec Stan Kasten agreed Tuesday night to buy the Dodgers baseball team.

The price: A staggering record $2 billion.

That amount would shatter the mark for a sports franchise. Mark Walter, CEO of financial services firm Guggenheim Partners, would become controlling owner.

Magic Johnson Photo

"I am thrilled to be part of the historic Dodger franchise and intend to build on the great foundation laid by Frank McCourt as we drive the Dodgers back to the front page of the sports section in our wonderful community of Los Angeles," Johnson said.

The deal, revealed hours after Major League Baseball owners approved three finalists for an intended auction, is one of the steps toward a sale by the end of April.

It is subject to approval in federal bankruptcy court.

As part of the agreement, the Dodgers said McCourt, who is selling the team amid major financial woes, and "certain affiliates of the purchasers" would acquire the land surrounding Dodger Stadium, including its parking lots, for $150 million.

The acquiring group, called Guggenheim Baseball Management and headed publicly by Magic, has several other investors, among them Mandalay Entertainment CEO Peter Guber and Guggenheim Partners president Todd Boehly.

Bobby Patton, who operates oil and gas properties, is also involved. Kasten is a former high ranking exec with the MLB's Nationals and Braves.

The 52-year-old Johnson played 13 seasons for the Los Angeles Lakers, winning five NBA championships and three MVP awards in a Hall of Fame career.

He retired from the NBA in 1991 after being diagnosed with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. He briefly came out of retirement during the 1995-96 season.

Since leaving basketball, he has been very successful in business, investing in movie theaters, a production company and numerous restaurants.

He has also been an activist in the fight against HIV.

"I'm just upset he didn't cut me in," current Lakers star Kobe Bryant said of the "great" news. "I'm going to have to talk to him about that."

[Photo: WENN.com]

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