MLB approves Rubenstein as new Orioles owner

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Major League Baseball’s owners have unanimously approved private-equity billionaire David Rubenstein as the new owner of the Baltimore Orioles.

The accelerated sale, which will eventually give Rubenstein and his ownership group 70% of the Orioles, transferred control of the team to him less than two months after he agreed to buy it from the Angelos family.

“On behalf of Major League Baseball, I thank the Angelos family for their many years of service to the game and the communities of Baltimore,” said Commissioner of Baseball Robert D. Manfred, Jr. in a statement. “Peter Angelos loved Baseball, loved Baltimore and was an important part of MLB for more than three decades.

“I congratulate David Rubenstein on receiving approval from the Major League Clubs as the new control person of the Orioles. As a Baltimore native and a lifelong fan of the team, David is uniquely suited to lead the Orioles moving forward. We welcome David and his partners as the new stewards of the franchise.”

The $1.725 billion valuation for the Orioles is the third highest for the sale of a baseball team, behind Steve Cohen’s $2.4 billion deal for the New York Mets in 2020 and the $2.15 billion purchase of the Los Angeles Dodgers by a group led by Mark Walter in 2012. Peter Angelos bought the Orioles in 1993 for $173 million.

Rubenstein will oversee a team that won an American League-best 101 regular-season games last year and features arguably the best young core in baseball, with franchise-level players at catcher (Adley Rutschman) and shortstop (Gunnar Henderson), plus another waiting in the wings at Triple-A (second baseman Jackson Holliday). Though the Orioles enter the season with one of the lowest payrolls in baseball at $96.6 million, Rubenstein is expected to infuse the team with cash, either to bring in marquee free agents or lock up young players on long-term deals.

The 74-year-old brings with him not only a gaudy list of investors — including Orioles legend Cal Ripken Jr., former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, CEO of the Ares Management investment firm Michael Arougheti, Basketball Hall of Famer Grant Hill, and former Baltimore mayor Kurt Schmoke — but a deep connection to the team. He grew up in Baltimore and is a lifelong Orioles fan, and he told Bloomberg TV he sees the franchise as “a very good investment opportunity.”

In December, the Orioles signed a 30-year lease to remain at Camden Yards, which includes a provision allowing the team to develop land around the stadium. John Angelos, who took control of the team in 2020 because of the the failing health of his father, Peter, who died on Saturday, had sought to build a mixed-use development like The Battery around Atlanta’s Truist Park.

Rubenstein’s group will own 40% of the Orioles for now with a plan to purchase an additional 30% of the team from the Angelos family in the future.

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