A consortium led by South Korean retailer E-Land is among the short-listed bidders vying to buy the U.S. Major League Los Angeles Dodgers baseball franchise, Yonhap News Agency reported on Monday, estimating the price tag at between $1.2 billion and $1.5 billion for the storied team.
The Dodgers filed for bankruptcy protection in June last year and a sale of the franchise was announced last week. A preliminary round of bidding has been completed.
The E-Land consortium was on a short-list of bidders for the Dodgers, Yonhap reported, quoting an unnamed industry official.
Blackstone Group LP, which is handling the high-profile auction of one of baseball’s oldest franchises, picked suitable bidders from among some of the biggest names in business and sports to advance.
A preferred bidder is expected to be selected in April, Yonhap reported.
An estimated 12 parties lodged non-binding first-round bids for the team, the first to break the color barrier in Major League Baseball by signing black player Jackie Robinson, who played his first game with the team on April 15, 1947 when the team was based in Brooklyn.
The team left Brooklyn after the 1957 season.
Baseball is one of most popular sports in South Korea, along with soccer and golf. South Korean pitcher Park Chan-ho made his Major League Baseball debut with the Dodgers in 1994. Los Angeles also is home to a large Korean population and the city has defined an area in the Wilshire neighborhood as Koreatown.
Sources familiar with the matter told Reuters earlier that billionaire hedge fund manager Steve Cohen and ex-Yankees and Dodgers manager Joe Torre had received the green light, while basketball great Magic Johnson was also in the running.