Friday, April 19, 2024

Orioles sale: David Rubenstein takes step toward purchase of Baltimore baseball franchise, per report

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Baltimore businessman David Rubenstein’s attempted purchase of the Orioles franchise took another step in the right direction on Friday, as Major League Baseball’s ownership committee voted in his favor, according to ESPN. Rubenstein, 74, still has a few other benchmarks to clear before the sale can be finalized. Next, he’ll need to earn the approval of an eight-man executive council. 

After that, his bid will face a vote of all franchise owners. Provided he earns 23 votes in his favor — and there’s no reason to think otherwise at this stage — he’ll be in the clear.

News of Rubenstein’s attempted purchase of the Orioles, valued at more than $1.7 billion, first broke in late January. If completed, this would represent the third-most lucrative franchise sale in Major League Baseball history. Only the Los Angeles Dodgers and the New York Mets have sold for more, both clearing the $2 billion threshold.

The Angelos family has owned the Orioles since 1993, when patriarch Peter bought the franchise for $173 million. With Peter’s health failing him in recent years, his son John has become the face of the franchise.

Alas, controversy has followed John’s ascent. A lawsuit involving John, his brother Louis, and Peter’s wife Georgia was just settled in 2023. A notable part of that lawsuit saw Louis allege that John intended to relocate the Orioles to Tennessee. 

Rubenstein’s ownership group is expected to include Hall of Fame Orioles infielder Cal Ripken Jr., NBA Hall of Famer Grant Hill, and former New York City mayor Mike Bloomberg. As CBS Sports noted when the news broke, Rubenstein has a chance to position the Orioles as a perpetual World Series threat if he’s willing to make a greater financial commitment than the Angelos family was in its final years at the helm.

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