Update: McCourt agrees to sell. Go crazy folks!
The Times' Bill Shaikin reports this evening that Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban offered to buy the Dodgers earlier this year. But Cuban balked at owner Frank McCourt's asking price of $1 billion to $1.2 billion.
"At the right price, I'm interested," Cuban told the Times. "Not if the price is over $1 billion."
Frank McCourt has vowed to hang on to the Dodgers no matter what, and to bequeath the team to his four sons someday. And he has certainly acted that way in court, pursuing every legal avenue to cling to the franchise.
But now we know that even Frank McCourt has his price. It's just very, very high.
Frank McCourt had two major business successes before he bought the Dodgers. Both shed light on his handling of the Dodgers over the last two years.
The first success was his 11-year legal fight over a slice of prime Boston waterfront. In that case, he waged scorched-earth legal warfare, and held out for total victory. When he finally won, he became a very rich man. It's not hard to see a repeat of that strategy in his bloody, give-no-quarter legal battles with ex-wife Jamie McCourt and now with Major League Baseball.
If that were all we knew about him, we might expect him to fight in court forever. But now let's turn to the second major success of McCourt's career.
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In that one, McCourt fought the Massachusetts Department of Highways over control of his waterfront property. The state needed to borrow McCourt's land to build the "Big Dig" -- the which was the largest infrastructure project in the nation's history. That fight lasted only six years. In that one, McCourt agreed to settle -- for an ungodly price.
The state agreed to pay McCourt $62.5 million, net, and it gave him his land back. This was a bit of a scandal in Boston at the time. In fact, it was so egregious as to prompt Congressional inquiries.
The point, for present purposes, is that McCourt is susceptible to reason. He will not pursue litigation, at any cost, forever. He can settle.
But he will make sure, as much as possible, that it's on his terms, and that it's the most lucrative offer that anybody could possibly expect to get. And if that offer isn't forthcoming, he can always keep fighting it out in court.