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Padres to Be Sold to Beer Distributor Fowler, O’Malley Kin

John Moores agreed to sell the San Diego Padres to a group headed by California beer distributor owner Ron Fowler and including golfer Phil Mickelson and the family of former Los Angeles Dodgers owner Peter O’Malley.

Sarah Farnsworth, senior vice president of public affairs for the Padres, confirmed that an agreement has been reached while declining to reveal details.

The $800 million price includes the team’s 21 percent stake in Fox Sports San Diego, according to a person with direct knowledge of the transaction. The person requested anonymity because the sale won’t be complete until approved by Major League Baseball owners.

That vote might come at the owners’ Aug. 16 meeting in Denver, with 75 percent approval needed from the other 29 club representatives.

“The team will have no formal statement or news conference until after MLB votes on it,” Farnsworth said in a telephone interview. MLB.com reported the agreement and the price earlier.

Mickelson, 42, will have a minority stake in the team and said he will leave the business operations to others.

“The O’Malley and Seidler family have been involved in baseball for decades,” Mickelson said in an interview today at the Ocean Course in Kiawah Island, South Carolina, where the PGA Championship starts Aug. 9. “They know what they’re doing. I don’t want to interrupt or get in the way.”

Padres’ Woes

Fowler would get a team that hasn’t won a World Series championship since joining the National League in 1969. The Padres appeared in the World Series in 1984 and 1998, losing each time. The team last reached the playoffs in 2006 and this year is in fourth place in the five-team NL West. Petco Park, the team’s home ballpark, opened in 2004.

Fowler, the chairman of closely held Liquid Investments Inc., a Del Mar, California-based beer distributor, would represent the Padres at league meetings, MLB.com said.

O’Malley’s son Kevin and nephew Tom Seidler are also part of the ownership group, which includes Mickelson, a San Diego native. The O’Malleys brought baseball to the West Coast when they moved the Dodgers to Los Angeles from Brooklyn, New York, in 1958.

“This brings a long baseball blood line to San Diego,” Moores told MLB.com. “I couldn’t be more pleased. I feel like I’m handing over the club to the right people.”

Failed Bid

Fowler had been part of a group led by Jeff Moorad, whose agreement to buy the Padres for $525 million failed.

The price of the team escalated after the Padres signed a $1.2 billion television contract with Fox, MLB.com said. The Padres are the first big-league team sold since the Dodgers commanded a record $2.1 billion in a bankruptcy auction in March.

The Dodgers were bought by a group that includes basketball Hall of Fame player Magic Johnson and Guggenheim Partners executive Mark Walter. Prior to the Dodgers, the record amount for a baseball team was the $845 million that Joe Ricketts, founder of TD Ameritrade Holding Corp. (AMTD), paid the Tribune Co. three years ago for the Chicago Cubs and Wrigley Field.

Moores paid $94 million for the team in 1994, according to Forbes magazine. The $800 million price is about 8 1/2 times that.

“There’s no question that the market lifted in the last year,” Moores told MLB.com. “I don’t think I will have any problems with the sale this time around. This one is so solid. I don’t foresee any outstanding issues.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Erik Matuszewski in New York at matuszewski@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Sillup at msillup@bloomberg.net

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