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Deal may be done by end of month

NEW YORK -- The Boston real estate developer who hopes to
buy the Los Angeles Dodgers met with baseball officials for 11
hours Tuesday, and the sport's No. 2 official remained hopeful the
deal could be completed this month.

Frank McCourt, his wife and his lawyer attended the meeting
along with Bob DuPuy, baseball's chief operating officer, Chicago
White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf and Atlanta Braves chairman
emeritus Bill Bartholomay.

Gary Ehrlich represented News Corp. McCourt announced in October
an agreement to buy the Dodgers, a deal worth $430 million. The
agreement calls for the sale to close by Jan. 31, and DuPuy said
the sides intended to meet again Wednesday.

"It was a constructive dialogue," he said. "This is a
complicated transaction. We hope we are moving toward the finish
line."

Baseball officials have been examining the deal to make sure it
complies with the sport's rules about the level of debt. To get the
deal approved by the end of the month, commissioner Bud Selig
probably would have to call for a vote by telephone conference
call.

"I remain optimistic that we can consummate the transaction in
the time frame the buyer and seller indicated was important,"
DuPuy said.

The Los Angeles Times reported last weekend that billionaire Eli
Broad told News Corp. he would offer to buy the Dodgers for $430
million if McCourt's deal wasn't completed.

"In our application process, a club presents a potential buyer
to us," DuPuy said. "We process that application. We don't make
applications to comparative buyers."

McCourt's spokesman, Duffy Jennings, declined comment.