February 3, 2009

San Diego Padres sale deal signed

A group led by Jeff Moorad, former chief executive officer of the Arizona Diamondbacks, has signed to buy 100 percent ownership of the San Diego Padres.

The deal to purchase the Padres from majority owner John Moores has been known for a while but was made official Tuesday. It will be completed over five years and subject to the approval of Major League Baseball.

The deal initially sells one-third interest in the franchise to Moorad. Until a controlling interest is purchased, Moores will remain the Padres' control person, representing the club at owners' meetings and sitting on numerous committees.

I anticipate that I'll remain the control person for three years, said Moores, who purchased the club in December 1994 for $82 million. (Moorad) has to reach a certain threshold of percentage of ownership before he becomes control person.

Moorad had been a general partner and chief executive of the Diamondback from 2004 until early this year. Before joining the Diamondbacks, Moorad served as a player agent.

Sources said the transfer of the Padres to Moorad calls for cash and an assumption of debt, with the selling price to be included in the total of that debt. The total cost of the sale, which includes the Padres' interest in the Padres' home field of Petco Park, should top $400 million, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

John and Becky Moores, who are going through a divorce, will get at least $80 million in cash as part of the sale, sources told the newspaper, and would also will be relieved of $200 million in debt related mostly to Petco Park's construction.