Dodgers bidders down to seven

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The list of potential owners or ownership groups vying to purchase the Los Angeles Dodgers was whittled to seven on Monday, a list that still includes the group headed by Los Angeles Lakers legend and local philanthropist Magic Johnson and largely funded by Guggenheim Partners chief executive officer Mark Walter.

Also still in the mix, according to a source with knowledge of the situation who spoke on the condition of anonymity, are:

St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke

• real-estate developer Alan Casden

• New York Observer publisher, real-estate mogul and Donald Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner

• a group headed by Shamrock Holdings president and CEO Stanley Gold and the family of the late Roy Disney

• a group headed by hedge-fund manager and SAC Capital Advisors founder Steven Cohen, which also includes longtime sports agent Arn Tellem

• a group headed by former YES Network chairman and chief executive Leo Hindery and Colony Capital chairman Tom Barrack.

Those seven entities, including each member of each group, will continue to be scrutinized by an on-going vetting process being conducted by Major League Baseball. Those candidates who remain at the end of that process will be submitted to baseball's ownership committee, then to the executive council, and finally, to the full ownership of the 29 other clubs. The ownership committee and executive council will either recommend or reject bidders -- with outgoing Dodgers owner Frank McCourt free to take any rejection to a mediator if he disagrees -- and any bidder who survives all the way to the vote of the full ownership must then receive a three-fourths approval (at least 23 teams).

There is no schedule for completing those steps, according to another source familiar with the process who spoke on condition of anonymity, but McCourt is required through his sale agreement with MLB to identify a buyer no later than April 1 and complete the sale no later than April 30. Because of that, the full ownership vote likely would need to be completed by mid-March to allow McCourt time to conduct what in effect would be an auction among all the groups that receive that three-fourth approval from full ownership.

Although the process remains officially open to additional bidders, it is so far along and so many hurdles must still be cleared that it's likely this is the final group.

Tony Jackson covers the Dodgers for ESPNLosAngeles.com.