By JESSICA GRESKO, Associated Press
WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) — A bankruptcy court judge in Delaware gave his approval Friday to the Los Angeles Dodgers' plan to sell the team for $2 billion.
U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Kevin Gross' approval of the Dodgers' reorganization plan came at the conclusion of a two-part morning and evening hearing he called a "doubleheader." The decision allows the team to exit bankruptcy.
The reorganization plan is based on Dodgers owner Frank McCourt's agreement to sell the team for $2 billion to Guggenheim Baseball Management, a group that includes former Los Angeles Lakers star Magic Johnson. Mark Walter, chief executive officer of the financial services firm Guggenheim Partners, will become the controlling owner, and the team will be run by former Atlanta Braves president Stan Kasten.
Both Kasten and McCourt were in court Friday. The sale is set to close by April 30, the day McCourt is to make a $131 million payment to former wife Jamie as part of their divorce.
"All the organization's goals in the reorganization cases have been achieved. We look forward to returning all of our attention to Dodger baseball," the team said in a statement following the hearing.
The Dodgers entered bankruptcy in June 2011 during a bitter dispute with Major League Baseball. At the time, baseball Commissioner Bud Selig refused to approve a new TV deal with Fox Sports that the team was counting on in order to make payroll and keep the franchise solvent.
Friday's hearing helped resolve a number of lingering issues ahead of the team's sale. Fox, the team's current broadcaster, had wanted written assurance that competitor Time Warner Cable was not contributing funds being used for the purchase. Lawyers for the Dodgers agreed to do that.
Friday's hearing dragged into the evening, however, as lawyers for the Dodgers and Major League Baseball sparred over the information being given to the league about the plan. A lawyer for Major League Baseball said the league has issues with the plan and was owed more information. A Dodgers lawyer said the team has met all the criteria to have the plan confirmed, and the judge agreed.
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