With the Dodgers court battle with FOX behind them, the path to new ownership is beginning to be paved. The sale of the Dodgers might become the priciest in MLB history. McCourt is looking to receive upwards of $1.6 billion in return for the historic franchise.
The newest potential bidder to join the growing group is real estate mogul Tom Barrack. He is the Chairman and CEO of Santa Monica based Colony Capital, a private equity real estate company that he founded in 1990. The USC alum is beyond rich. He in fact is the 375th richest person in the United States, and he has an estimated wealth of $1.1 billion. Colony Capital has control over $34 billion in assets.
He has worked for Saudi Arabian princes, and he owns Neverland Ranch after paying off $23.5 million in debt that Michael Jackson owed on the distressed property. Miramax Films is within Colony Capital’s portfolio along with a French soccer team and casinos (his gaming assets probably will not sit well with the MLB). The shaved headed Barrack travels the world in his Gulfstream IV, living in Sardinia, and staying weekends in a Medieval castle in the South of France.
He is often described as the top real estate investor in the world, and he has accumulated his self-made wealth by flipping distressed property and taking on complicated deals that others may not want to touch. The Colony Capital website describes the types of investments they seek:
"“Through the identification of supply-demand source imbalances in capital, product types and information availability, Colony achieves attractive risk-adjusted returns by investing in real estate, non-performing loans, distressed assets, real estate-dependent operating companies, and select commercial and residential development opportunities throughout the world.”"
Interestingly in a 2005 Forbes magazine article Barrack describes his distaste for auctions:
"“How do you congratulate yourself when you’ve outbid eight of the smartest people in the world?”"
His grandparent were Lebanese immigrants, and Barrack grew up in suburban Los Angeles. His father worked hard at the family grovery store where Tom would often work after school. He was a star rugby player for USC, which we all know is a hop, skip, and jump down the 110 freeway from Dodger Stadium.
January 23rd is the deadline for opening bids and when this pack of ultra-rich hopeful MLB owners will be pared down. On Tuesday prospective owners Joe Torre and Rick Caruso as well as a representative for Steven Cohen took a tour of Dodger Stadium. Does Thomas Barrack see the Dodgers as a distressed property which he can flip for higher profit? How high do you think the bidding will go? We will know who the new owner is by April Fool’s Day.