NEW YORK (AP) -- Seven groups of bidders for the Los Angeles Dodgers, including Magic Johnson and Stan Kroenke, will interview with baseball's ownership committee in the next step toward selling the bankrupt team by the end of April.
In the unusual process agreed to last year by Major League Baseball and current Dodgers owner Frank McCourt, MLB will consider groups for approval before McCourt then selects the winner of the auction, which is likely to be for a price of more than $1 billion.
"LAD is pleased with the momentum that continues to be generated in the sales process and is confident that the sales process will maximize the value of the debtors' estate," the team's public-relations firm said in a statement Monday.
Former Dodgers owner Peter O'Malley, Memphis Grizzlies owner Michael Heisley and Tony Ressler of the assets firm Ares Management are not being scheduled for interviews with the ownership committee, a person involved in the process said. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the process is supposed to be confidential. The cuts first were reported by the Los Angeles Times.
Real estate developer Rick Caruso and former Dodgers manager Joe Torre announced last week they were dropping out because McCourt was not including the parking lots surrounding Dodger Stadium in the sale. The parking lots could become a contentious issue for other bidders.
Several people familiar with the selection process, all speaking to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity, said the advancing groups are:
--Alan Casden, chief executive officer of the Beverly Hills real estate company Casden Properties;
--Steven Cohen, founder of the hedge fund SAC Capital Advisors and one of the entities negotiating to purchase a minority stake in the New York Mets, and baseball and basketball agent Arn Tellem;
--Former Los Angeles Lakers star Johnson, former Atlanta Braves and Washington Nationals President Stan Kasten and Mark Walter, chief executive officer of the financial services firm Guggenheim Partners;
--Leo Hindery, managing partner of the private equity firm InterMedia Partners and former chief executive officer of the YES Network, and Marc Utay, managing partner of the private equity firm Clarion Capital Partners;
--Kroenke, whose family properties own the NFL's St. Louis Rams, the NBA's Denver Nuggets and the NHL's Colorado Avalanche, and who is majority shareholder of Arsenal in the English Premier League;
--Jared Kushner, publisher of The New York Observer and son-in-law of real estate developer Donald Trump;
--Stanley Gold, chief executive officer of Shamrock Holdings, the investment company of the family of the late Roy Disney.
McCourt's agreement with MLB says the auction is to be completed by April 1 and the sale is to be closed by April 30 -- which coincides with the day McCourt is to make a $131 million divorce settlement payment to former wife Jamie.