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Ex-basketball star Magic Johnson acquires part ownership of the Dodgers

Los Angeles, Thu, 29 Mar 2012 ANI

Los Angeles, Mar.29 (ANI): Former star Lakers guard Magic Johnson has acquired of part ownership of the baseball team, the Los Angeles Dodgers.

This is the latest step in one of the most successful post-game careers of any professional athlete, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Johnson has carved out a role as a liaison between big-money investors and the residents of urban neighborhoods who might become their customers in a variety of businesses, including theaters, restaurants, stores and apartments.

"He is an extraordinary businessman who has done a great job of executing his strategies," said Ken Lombard, the former president of the Johnson Development Corp. and a key mentor to Johnson in his transition from basketball to business.

Johnson's strategy has included immersing himself in the minutiae of real estate development and other business issues while linking up with top players in various industries.

It was his Dodgers partner Peter Guber, then chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment, who green-lighted the development of Magic Johnson Theaters at Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza in the mid-1990s.

The high-profile success of the theaters in a South Los Angeles neighborhood overlooked by traditional investors led to a partnership with Howard Schultz, chairman of Starbucks, who arranged a special deal with Johnson to open Starbucks in urban neighborhoods. Johnson was Starbucks' only franchise operator until the agreement expired in 2010.

"The theaters really put him on the map and Starbucks brought tremendous credibility to our overall assets," said Lombard, who left Johnson Development to work for Starbucks.

Lombard is now an executive at Capri Capital Partners, a real estate development firm.

Johnson also teamed up with Canyon Capital Realty Advisors, a Century City investment fund. Their joint Canyon-Johnson Urban Funds develops properties in underserved urban neighborhoods.

With nearly two billion dollars in committed capital, the funds are in position to facilitate more than eight billion dollars in development and revitalization in major U.S. metropolitan areas, managers said.

Johnson, who likes to be addressed by his first name of Earvin instead of the nickname Magic in the business world, "has got worldwide recognition and popularity," Lombard said.

"You have an individual who is very sincere, very authentic, who people in the city of Los Angeles trust," added Lombard.

Johnson, whose wealth has been estimated at between 500 million and 700 million dollars, has changed his business holdings through the years. (ANI)

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