Thu. Feb 22nd, 2024

An Orioles sale is imminent.

John Angelos has agreed to sell the team to Baltimore native David Rubenstein, two sources with direct knowledge of the negotiations told The Baltimore Banner. Rubenstein would become the “control person,” and New York businessman Michael Arougheti will also be a part of the investment group. The source said the investment group also includes Maryland leaders, philanthropists and sports legends.

Orioles legend Cal Ripken Jr. is part of the group, a source confirmed to The Banner.

The deal values the team at $1.725 billion, according to the source. The Mid-Atlantic Sports Network, which broadcasts games of both the Orioles and Washington Nationals, is part of the acquisition.

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The timeline for the deal is not yet known, however it would need to be approved by MLB owners, who will convene in Orlando next week at their annual meeting.

Who is David Rubenstein, the billionaire buying the Orioles?

Peter Angelos, 94, has owned a majority stake in the Orioles since 1993, but his son, John, has been the designated “control person” due to Peter’s age and declining health. Peter has advanced dementia, according to court documents, but his health status is currently unknown.

According to court documents, Peter Angelos intended for the team to pass to his wife, Georgia, and for her to sell it upon his death so she “could enjoy the great wealth they had amassed together.” He left the decision up to Georgia. A call to her attorney had not been returned as of Tuesday evening.

Puck News first reported the deal. Spokespeople for the Orioles and John Angelos declined to comment on the report. Gov. Wes Moore, through a spokesperson, declined to comment.

Rubenstein and Arougheti will start off owning about 40% of the team and will buy Angelos’ remaining stake following Peter’s death, according to the sources. The Angelos family could be subjected to capital gains taxes totaling hundreds of millions of dollars if it sells the club prior to Peter’s death.

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The Angelos family also owns a majority stake in the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network, with the Nationals owning the remaining portion. MLB granted MASN the Nationals’ broadcast rights in perpetuity as a way to compensate Angelos after it moved the Expos to D.C., and the two teams waged a protracted court battle over rights fees.

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A source with direct knowledge said Rubenstein has been telling his inner circle that he is going to buy the Orioles for some time. He’s a baseball lover, having grown up playing little league in Baltimore. In an episode of his PBS series “Iconic America,” Rubenstein toured Boston’s historic Fenway Park, home of the Red Sox, pretended to hit a home run over the Green Monster, and recalled how his mom threw out his baseball card collection after he went off to college.

In 2022, Rubenstein and Ted Leonsis, the owner of the Wizards, Mystics and Capitals, considered a bid to buy the Nationals, but the Lerners, who own the team, did not approve it, according to Bloomberg. Later that year, Rubenstein and Leonsis then turned their focus to the Orioles, saying that they would consider a bid if the team was put up for sale.

In December, a Bloomberg report that Rubenstein was in talks to buy the Orioles, coupled with the reservations of key lawmakers, caused a deal for a new lease at Camden Yards to fall apart. John Angelos called Moore to say he was not planning to sell a majority stake in the team; the team and state agreed on a deal the following week.

Rubenstein, a Baltimore native and Maryland resident, has a net worth of $3.7 billion and is one of the 800 richest people in the world, according to Forbes.

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He made his fortune as one of the founders of the Carlyle Group, one of the largest private equity firms in the world. Rubenstein, 74, stepped down as CEO in 2017.

Rubenstein has deep ties to the region and has given millions back to the community, including $4.5 million to the National Zoo for a panda habitat and $15 million to the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at Johns Hopkins for research. He has also donated $111 million to the Kennedy Center and served as the center’s chairman for 14 years, announcing plans Monday to step down. He will remain in the position for one year while they conduct a search for his replacement.

He’s also written four books and hosts two shows on Bloomberg Television and another two on PBS.

Ripken Jr., a Maryland native, played all 21 of his major league seasons with the Orioles and earned the nickname of baseball’s Iron Man for playing in 2,632 consecutive games, surpassing the record set by Lou Gehrig. He was also a 19 time All-Star, a two-time AL MVP and a part of the 1983 World Series champion team, the last to bring home a championship for the Orioles.

He still lives in the area and is highly involved in the local baseball scene, regularly attending Orioles games and operating the Ripken Experience, a youth sports complex in Aberdeen. He is also the founding owner of the Aberdeen Ironbirds, the Orioles’ High-A affiliate.

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Arougheti is the is the co-founder and chief executive office of Ares Management, a credit-oriented alternative investment firm. He has a net worth of $1.8 billion. He has also shown an interest in sports teams before; his company raised $500 million for Chelsea FC last September. His stake in the Orioles is unknown.

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