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Feb. 13, 2004, 6:06 p.m. EST

News Corp. finishes L.A. Dodgers sale

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By David B. Wilkerson, CBS.MarketWatch.com

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS.MW) -- Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. said Friday it had completed its $430 million sale of the storied Los Angeles Dodgers baseball franchise to real estate developer Frank McCourt, officially ending six money-losing seasons for the company.

U.S.-listed News Corp. shares /zigman2/quotes/204787942/composite NWS -2.41% rose 67 cents to close at $39.08 ahead of the news. The limited-voting stock rose 30 cents to $33.70, while subsidiary Fox Entertainment Group /zigman2/quotes/209921865/composite FOX +0.40% fell 7 cents to $30.05.

Fox will give McCourt's investment group $50 million in the first two years following Friday's close of the transaction as reimbursement for "certain pre-existing commitments."

Fox bought the Dodgers for $350 million in 1997 from the O'Malley family, which had owned the franchise since its days in Brooklyn. The deal seemed a natural fit for Fox, which owned a regional cable sports network in Southern California and whose Fox broadcast network had begun to carry national baseball telecasts.

But the Dodgers have been a consistent money loser for Fox and News Corp. Despite fielding teams that were decent, if not outstanding (winning as many as 92 games), the demands of baseball's elephantine salary structure helped keep the club in the red.

Its failure to make the postseason was another factor, in a city that had seen the Dodgers win nine National League pennants and five world championships since moving to L.A. from Brooklyn in 1958.

/zigman2/quotes/204787942/composite
US : U.S.: Nasdaq
$ 21.04
-0.52 -2.41%
Volume: 1.17M
Jan. 27, 2022 4:00p
P/E Ratio
25.39
Dividend Yield
0.95%
Market Cap
$12.70 billion
Rev. per Employee
$405,958
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/zigman2/quotes/209921865/composite
US : U.S.: Nasdaq
$ 35.01
+0.14 +0.40%
Volume: 990,551
Jan. 27, 2022 4:00p
P/E Ratio
11.77
Dividend Yield
1.37%
Market Cap
$20.88 billion
Rev. per Employee
$1.47M
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David B. Wilkerson is a reporter for CBS.MarketWatch.com in San Francisco.

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