Turner moves to keep Murdoch off the Dodgers' pitch

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The Independent Online
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The media magnate Ted Turner, owner of the Atlanta Braves team, planned to make a rare appearance at a baseball owners' meeting today in an effort to block his media rival Rupert Murdoch from buying the Los Angeles Dodgers, the New York Times reported yesterday.

"He's going to try to keep Rupert out, that's why he's going," the paper quoted a lawyer familiar with Mr Turner's plans as saying. It cited two other league officials as confirming the plan.

Mr Turner last attended an owners' meeting nine years ago. In order to attend today's meeting, he will have to miss a meeting of the board of Time Warner Inc, of which he is vice-chairman.

Last Friday, the Dodgers owner, Peter O'Malley, said that he had struck a deal with Mr Murdoch to sell the team to the latter's Fox Group, which is a unit of his News Corp Ltd. No terms were revealed then, but the New York Times reports the value of the deal at $311m (pounds 194m). The transaction must be approved by 12 of the 16 National League owners and eight of the 14 American League owners. Mr Turner seems to have at least one colleague already on his side: the San Diego Padres owner John Moores has expressed concern that Mr Murdoch would drive up baseball's salary scale.

Mr Murdoch's Fox Group is entering the third year of a four-year, $565m national deal to televise baseball. It also has national broadcast rights to the National Football League and the National Hockey League.