Padres sale agreement in place, needs MLB approval

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A group that includes former Los Angeles Dodgers owner Peter O'Malley and pro golfer Phil Mickelson reached agreement Monday to buy the San Diego Padres from John Moores in a deal believed to be around $800 million.

Ron Fowler, chief executive of Liquid Investments, would become controlling owner if the agreement is approved by baseball owners and finalized, a baseball official said Tuesday. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because that part of the deal was not announced.

O'Malley is the son of Walter O’Malley, who bought the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1950 and moved them to Los Angeles before the 1958 season.

“An agreement has been confirmed but is not yet finalized. It has to be voted on,” Padres senior vice president, public affairs Sarah Farnsworth said after San Diego beat the Chicago Cubs 2-0 Monday night.

U-T San Diego first reported Monday night that a purchase agreement had been signed.

The purchase price apparently includes the $200 million in upfront money the Padres received from Fox Sports San Diego in a $1.2 billion, 30-year TV deal.

The agreement came months after Jeff Moorad’s attempt to buy the team on a layaway plan fell apart. Moores‘ deal with Moorad, who began his attempted purchase of the club in 2009, was valued at about $500 million.

The price for this sale was inflated thanks to the deal with Fox and the recent sale of the Dodgers for $2 billion.

Moores‘ divorce forced him to put the team on the market in 2009.

Moores had owned 51 percent of the team while a minority group, once controlled by Moorad and then by Fowler, owned 49 percent.

Baseball owners next meet Aug. 15-16 Denver. It is not clear if the sale will be put to a vote then.

Fans hope a change in owners can turn around the Padres, who regularly have had one of baseball’s lowest payrolls and have largely struggled since reaching the 1998 World Series.

The Padres are 47-64 this season and fourth in the NL West.

Moores, the owner since December 1994, slashed the player payroll both in 1999, while the club waited for voter-approved Petco Park to open, and again as he went through his divorce.

Moores has distanced himself from the team in recent years, first as he went through the divorce and as Moorad took over as CEO from 2009 until his sudden resignation in March. Many fans felt Moores showed an increasing disinterest in the club.

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