MLB Offers Unsecured $150 Million Loan to Bankrupt Dodgers

Major League Baseball said it sweetened its offer to loan the Los Angeles Dodgers $150 million while the team is in bankruptcy, seeking to defeat a rival loan sought by team owner Frank McCourt.

Baseball is willing to provide “unsecured financing” that wouldn’t require any collateral to guarantee repayment, John McHale, executive vice president with the baseball commissioner’s office, said in a filing today in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Delaware.

Commissioner Bud Selig has urged U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Kevin Gross to reject the Dodgers’ request to borrow as much as $150 million from JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s Highbridge Capital Management LLC. The Highbridge financing charges higher fees and a higher interest rate than one offered by Major League Baseball, according to baseball officials.

Selig’s office filed an objection to the proposed Highbridge loan under seal, saying it contains confidential information.

The Dodgers filed for bankruptcy on June 27 after Selig rejected a proposed television-rights deal McCourt negotiated with News Corp.’s Fox Sports.

The Dodgers will ask Gross to approve the Highbridge loan at a hearing next week. The team claims that it cannot accept the baseball loan because Selig is hostile to McCourt and the Dodgers. Gross has already approved a temporary $60 million loan from Highbridge.

The bankruptcy case is In re Los Angeles Dodgers LLC, 11-12010, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Delaware (Wilmington).