This blog has written several lengthy stories about Jeff Moorad's attempt to become "control" owner of the Padres. In contrast to prevalent reports in the mainstream national media and the local print media, none of those articles conveyed rosy optimism about Moorad's chances. Pressed for time today, I'll use a question/answer format in response to this morning's announcement that Moorad, the Padres Vice Chairman and CEO, "has withdrawn his application to Major League Baseball for a control transfer, in order to expedite MLB approval of the club's television broadcasting agreement."
Q Is Moorad still the club's Vice Chairman and CEO?
Q Is John Moores still majority owner of the Padres?
A Yes. That hasn't changed since the winter of 1994-95, when Moores put up about $80 million to buy a controlling interest in the club. Since 2009, Moorad's group had made two payments, reducing Moores' stake to 51 percent.
Q Is MLB likely to approve the 20-year pact between the Padres and FOX?
A Yes, as I wrote last week, the TV deal should be approved by mid-March. The deal's total economic value could approach $1 billion, which reflects well on Moorad's negotiating skills.
Q Does Moorad still have time to buy out Moores as control owner?
A The sales agreement announced by the two in March 2009 stipulated that Moorad had until March 2014 to pay off Moores. Key point: Moorad still would need 22 of MLB's other 29 owners to approve him.
Q Are 22 ownership groups willing to vote for Moorad?
A In January, the vote was tabled. Another vote was considered for this month. Two weeks ago I was told Moorad didn't have enough votes, according to someone at the ownership level of a club neutral about Moorad.
Q If Moorad had until 2014, why did he and his partners attempt to pay off Moores in recent months?
A MLB's approval was needed for both Moorad to become control owner and the TV contract to become reality. As this blog wrote last month, I also think it probable that Moorad, per his agreement with Moores, would've received an eight-figure discount for accelerating the purchase.
What I've never believed is that Moorad's attempt to speed up the purchase had anything to do with allaying perceptions that he was an underfunded owner.
Q Did Moorad and his partners come up with the money to pay off Moores?
A Yes. In mid-December, the money went into escrow. I'm told the amount was $152 million.
Q Who among the owners opposed Moorad?
A As I wrote exclusively on Jan. 20, White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf spoke against Moorad to other owners leading up to the scheduled vote on Jan. 12. Reinsdorf, a longtime friend of Bud Selig's, may be the most powerful owner within MLB. Again, it's difficult for me to envision Moorad ever becoming control owner without Reinsdorf's consent or neutrality.