Mar 27, 2024 - Business

New Baltimore Orioles owner David Rubenstein discusses the deal

Baltimore Orioles mascot

Photo: G Fiume/Getty Images.

Private equity billionaire David Rubenstein purchased The Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday after getting unanimous approval from Major League Baseball.

The big picture: He becomes the club's first new owner in more than three decades and only its fifth since 1954. He tells Axios that his "job is to stand out of the way."

  • Rubenstein, co-founder and former CEO of The Carlyle Group, agreed in late January to buy the club from the Angelos family, whose patriarch Peter Angelos died Sunday.
  • The agreement called for Rubenstein to buy a 40% stake at around a $1.7 billion team valuation, with the remainder to be purchased soon after.
  • Other members of the new ownership group include Orioles legend Cal Ripken Jr., Michael Bloomberg, and Ares Management co-founder Mike Arougheti.

Rubenstein spoke with Axios after the MLB vote.

  • "I was always more interested in Baltimore because I grew up there," Rubenstein said, "even though I mostly lived in Washington over the past 40 years."

Flashback: He said his father took him to his first Orioles game when he was 7 or 8 years old.

  • "We won," Rubenstein said. "I don't think I understood the rules of baseball yet, but I thought the food was fantastic."

Zoom out: Rubenstein said he previously talked to Washington Wizards and Capitals owner Ted Leonsis about buying the Washington Nationals but "it didn't go anywhere, and Ted then turned his attention to the Nationals, which I wasn't involved with and which also didn't work out."

  • "John then approached me last summer about buying a minority stake in the team, and I said I'd like to if there could be a path to control," Rubenstein added. "So we negotiated for six months or so before getting to an agreement."

The intrigue: Rubenstein said he doesn't "have the expertise" to be involved in baseball operations "because what I've been doing is private equity."

  • "My job is to stand out of the way and hire really good people," he said.
  • He later added: "Luckily the team is in pretty good shape; it's not the turnaround it was a couple years ago."
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