It’s been a rough few days to be a Baltimore sports fan (those of you who aren’t Ravens fans, count yourselves lucky…this time.)
But we might be getting the good news we so desperately needed during our time of grief.
It seems that the long-rumored sale of the Baltimore Orioles is actually going to come to fruition.
John Ourand, long of the Baltimore Business Journal, has a new gig with outlet Puck. I’ve never heard of Puck until today, but Ourand’s name carries plenty of weight around these parts, and I have no reason not to trust his reporting. Here’s what he had to say this evening:
It looks like the Orioles sale is finally going to happen. I’ve had several plugged-in sources tell me that the team’s owner, John Angelos,has agreed to sell the franchise to a group led by two private equity billionaires: David Rubenstein, who started the Carlyle Group, hails from Baltimore, and has been tied to the deal for months; and Ares Management Corp. co-founder Mike Arougheti, who lives in New York. The extent of Arougheti’s involvement is unclear, but Rubenstein will become the “control person,” the term MLB uses for teams’ decision-makers. The deal values the club at $1.725 billion.
As part of the deal, the group will start off owning about 40 percent of the club. The group will buy Angelos’ remaining stake following the death of Peter Angelos, the family patriarch, who has been incapacitated for years by an illness. MLB owners will receive details of the sale at their annual meeting in Orlando next week. And while Rubenstein and Arougheti have reached an agreement with Angelos, there isn’t a timetable for the deal to close.
What’s not known, of course, is how this deal will impact the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network. The Orioles own about three-fourths of MASN, with the neighboring Washington Nationals owning the rest. MASN controls the local broadcasting rights for both the Orioles and the Nationals, but its complex structure has stalled attempts by both the Orioles and Nationals owners to sell their respective teams. But it shouldn’t be a surprise that these new owners, masters in the high art of financial structuring, overcame the blocker.
Wasn’t it just a month or so ago when John Angelos was assuring Maryland governor Wes Moore that no sale was coming?
— GOODBYE ANGELOS Haiku (@Os_poems) January 30, 2024
The heavy-spending Los Angeles Dodgers are owned by some private equity billionaires, so we have some reason for optimism here, Birdland.
Andy Kostka of The Baltimore Banner adds this:
David Rubenstein is set to become the control of the Orioles after he agreed to a deal to buy a stake of the Orioles, a source close to the matter confirms to the Baltimore Banner.
The ownership group includes Mike Arougheti, Maryland leaders, philanthropists and sports legends
— Andy Kostka (@afkostka) January 31, 2024
The list including “Maryland leaders, philanthropists, and sports legends” is intriguing. I wonder who we’ll find out is invested in the coming months.