Jan 31, 2024 - Business

Private equity billionaire David Rubenstein to buy Baltimore Orioles

Baltimore Orioles celebration.

Karl Merton Ferron/The Baltimore Sun/Tribune News Service via Getty Images.

Carlyle Group co-founder David Rubenstein has signed an agreement to buy the Baltimore Orioles baseball club from the Angelos family for just over $1.7 billion, as first reported by Puck and confirmed by Axios.

Why it matters: Ask any long-suffering Orioles fan.

Details: Rubenstein would be control owner, according to a source familiar with the situation.

  • His minority partners are expected to include Orioles legend Cal Ripken Jr. and Ares Management co-founder Mike Arougheti, plus several other Maryland leaders and philanthropists.
  • The group would initially buy just under 40% of the club, with the remaining 60% to kick in after the eventual death of Peter Angelos, the 94-year-old patriarch who purchased the Orioles in 1993 for $173 million (then an all-time record).
  • At least at the outset, there will be no changes to the Orioles relationship with MASN, a regional sports network that broadcasts both Orioles and Washington Nationals broadcasts. The Orioles own three-fourths of MASN, while the Nationals own the remainder.
  • All of this is subject to approval by other league owners. No comment was offered by the Rubenstein camp, although an official statement could come by as early as this afternoon.

The bottom line: This is the realization of a lifelong dream for Baltimore-native Rubenstein, now perhaps best known as a Bloomberg interview show host. He previously had been linked to groups seeking to buy the Washington Nationals but, as we reported here years ago, owning the Orioles was always his priority.

  • It's also yet another case of private equity, or at least a private equity billionaire, buying up a pro sports franchise.
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