Frank McCourt has been offered $1.2 billion US to sell the Los Angeles Dodgers to a group backed by Chinese government-owned investment banks, a person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press on Thursday.
The bid to buy the team out of bankruptcy, which was first reported by the Los Angeles Times, was being headed by Los Angeles Marathon founder Bill Burke, said the person who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss it publicly.
The bid terms, put forth in a letter sent to McCourt this week, call for an all-cash payment to buy the Dodgers, all real estate related to the team and the team's media rights.
The offer is roughly $800 million more than what McCourt paid for the Dodgers in 2004 at more than $430 million. In the club's bankruptcy filing, the Dodgers list assets of up to $1 billion and debts up to $500 million.
McCourt has said that he has no interest in selling the Dodgers and that he intended to remain the owner after the team emerges from bankruptcy protection. But attorneys for McCourt have said he could try to keep Dodger Stadium and the surrounding parking lots even if he did sell the team.
The letter, which was presented on behalf of the Burke group by Signal Capital Management of New York, said funding for the bid would come from "certain state-owned investment institutions of the People's Republic of China" as well as unidentified American investors.
The bid would expire in 21 days, according to the letter, with the goal of closing a deal within 90 days, subject to the approvals of the bankruptcy court and Major League Baseball.
Burke and a McCourt spokesman, Steve Sugerman, did not return calls from The Associated Press seeking comment.
Matthew Hiltzik, a spokesman for McCourt's ex-wife Jamie, who claims half ownership of the team, declined to comment to the AP.
The proposed sale price would break a record for a Major League Baseball team that had been set two years ago when the Ricketts family paid $845 million to buy the Chicago Cubs from Tribune Co.
The participation of overseas investors in the team's ownership would not be unprecedented, with the Seattle Mariners' ownership group including a significant Japanese presence.