Baltimore Orioles agree $1.725bn sale to Carlyle Group

Carlyle Group Inc. co-founder David Rubenstein has reached an agreement to acquire the Baltimore Orioles for $1.725 billion, a source told the Associated Press.

If the deal is approved by Major League Baseball, Rubenstein, a native of Baltimore, would take over as controlling owner of the team. He has put together an investment team that includes Ares co-founder Michael Arougheti.

The investment group will also include a number of Maryland philanthropists and sports legends, including Orioles great Cal Ripken Jr. the Baltimore Banner reported.

The Angelos family has controlled the Orioles since 1993, when Peter Angelos bought the team for $173 million. Angelos’ son John is the team’s current president. The team recently reached a deal a new lease extension at Camden Yards. Maryland officials approved that long-term deal after months of negotiations.

The deal extended the lease for 30 years, with an option to end it after 15 years if the team does not receive approval from government officials for development plans adjacent to the ballpark.

Before founding Carlyle in 1987, Rubenstein practiced law in Washington. From 1977 to 1981, he served as deputy assistant for domestic policy to President Jimmy Carter. After graduating from Duke in 1970, he attended the University of Chicago Law School.

The sale agreement, which requires approval from major league owners, was the first Puck News reports this.

The Orioles are coming off a 101-win season and their first AL East title since 2014. With young stars like Adley Rutschman and Gunnar Henderson – and another top prospect on the way in Jackson Holliday – the future looks as bright as while it’s for a team that hasn’t won a World Series since 1983.

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A sore point among fans is the club’s payroll, which has remained low and has remained so another quiet low season for the team. If the new ownership group is able to keep Baltimore’s young core together, the Orioles could be in for a long period of struggle.

When Peter Angelos first took control of the Orioles, they had recently started playing at Camden Yards, the downtown venue that revolutionized the way baseball parks were built. The Orioles spent aggressively, at least for a short time, winning the division in 1997 with future Hall of Famers Ripken, Roberto Alomar, Mike Mussina and Harold Baines.

After that, Baltimore didn’t reach the postseason again until 2012, when the Orioles began a renaissance under manager Buck Showalter. They ultimately had to rebuild, losing at least 108 games in 2018, 2019 and 2021 — a streak interrupted only by the pandemic-shortened 2020 season.

Even as the team posted the best record in the American League last year, there were ominous signs, such as a piece from the New York Times in which Angelos was quoted as saying, “If people talk about giving this player $200 million, that player $150 million, we would be so underwater financially that you would have to raise prices tremendously.”

A sale must be approved by a vote of at least 75% by the Major League teams. The sales approval process typically takes several months.