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Owners' vote on Padres sale set for Thursday

DENVER -- The sale of the Padres by majority owner John Moores to a group that will be headed by long-time San Diego businessman Ron Fowler is on the agenda for Thursday's quarterly ownership meeting and must receive 75 percent of the votes from the 30 owners or their representatives to pass.

The proposed sale went through meetings of the ownership committee and executive council on Wednesday, both prerequisites to the final vote.

"That's absolutely correct," Commissioner Bud Selig said after the executive council broke up. "Let me just say this: They're doing very well."

The price of the club is $800 million, Moores said, including a 21 percent stake in a new FOX regional sports network, which began broadcasting this season.

Fowler has emerged as the club's new control person and will represent the organization at all league meetings. The new ownership group would also include the nephews and children of former Dodgers owner Peter O'Malley -- son Kevin and nephew Tom Seidler will represent the family in a group that also includes pro golfer Phil Mickelson, a San Diego native.

All three were in attendance on Wednesday and made a 30-minute presentation to the ownership committee, which vets and must approve all such transactions.

"We we're asked not to comment on or off the record," an obviously pleased and happy Fowler said. "We'll see you here on Thursday."

Peter O'Malley and his father, Walter, owned and operated the Dodgers in Brooklyn and Los Angeles from 1950-98. Because of a scheduling conflict Peter O'Malley was not at the meetings, his son Kevin O'Malley said.

Fowler, the CEO of Liquid Investments, a San Diego beer distributorship, would be the first locally-based control person of the Padres since founding owner C. Arnholt Smith. Smith, a banker and transplanted San Diegan, bought the team when it expanded into the NL in 1969 and sold it to McDonald's founder Ray Kroc in 1974, saving it from a move to Washington, D.C. Kroc was a Chicago native. The next ownership group was headed by current Red Sox chairman Tom Werner, a New York native and Hollywood television producer.

Moores was born and still resides, at least part of the year, in Houston. He bought a majority share of the Padres at the end of the strike season in 1994 from Werner and his group of 15 owners for about $80 million. Under his watch, the Padres helped build Petco Park, which opened in 2004, and have been to the playoffs four times, losing the 1998 World Series in four games to the Yankees.

This is the second time this year that the sale of the Padres has come before the owners. In January, the sale to a group of limited partners led by Jeff Moorad was pulled off the agenda after the ownership committee raised financial objections. Moorad, who had a five-year window to purchase the majority share of the team, owned 49 percent at the time. Ultimately, he didn't get approval and pulled his bid. He was subsequently replaced by Fowler as the head of those limited partners.

The Moorad's group inability to buy the Padres for an agreed price of $525 million turned out to be a windfall for Moores. This year the Padres signed a new $1.2 billion television contract with FOX, bringing their annual broadcast package from $14 million a year to an average of $60 million. The Dodgers were also sold in May for $2.15 billion. Both events had a major impact on the escalated sale price of the Padres, Moores said.

"There's no question that the market lifted in the last year," Moores said earlier this month. "A lot of that seems to be attributable to the new generation of TV contracts. I think that's what drove the Dodgers value up so much."

Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter.
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