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Report: Angelos family to sell Orioles for $1.725 billion to private equity moguls

Despite a roster ready for World Series contention, Baltimore has been extremely quiet so far this offseason.

A general view of Oriole Park during Game 2 of the Division Series between the Texas Rangers and the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on Sunday, October 8, 2023 in Baltimore, Maryland. Photo by Rob Tringali/MLB Photos via Getty Images

The Angelos family, the owners of the Baltimore Orioles since 1993, have reportedly agreed to sell the franchise to billionaires David Rubenstein and Mike Arougheti for $1.725 billion, according to John Ourand of Puck News. Per Ourand, Rubenstein and Arougheti will initially purchase 40% of the club before buying the rest following Peter Angelos’ death — a timing more advantageous for tax purposes.

As Sportico’s Eben Novy-Williams explained:

Should the Orioles sell while Peter Angelos is still alive, it could cost the family hundreds of millions in capital-gains taxes, a number that would decrease if the team is sold after his death. That tax burden has been a critical part of the family’s thinking in talks with potential buyers.

There is no estimated date on when the deal will close, but it is expected to be discussed at the owners’ meetings scheduled for next week in Orlando, Florida.

Rubenstein, a Baltimore native and cofounder of the private equity giant The Carlyle Group, was first linked to the Orioles late last year. At the time, the team’s future in Baltimore was still very much up in the air, with the clock ticking on a new lease agreement on Camden Yards and talks between the Angelos’ and the city government not gaining much traction. Eventually, though, the two sides were able to come to terms before the Dec. 31 deadline, ensuring that the O’s would stay in Baltimore for the foreseeable future.

While that took the most pressing issue off the table, it didn’t resolve long-simmering tensions regarding the Angelos family’s ownership of the team. Peter Angelos first purchased the Orioles for $173 million in 1993, buying the club from venture capitalist Eli Jacobs. Peter became incapacitated in recent years, leading to his son John becoming the face of the franchise — and a bitter intrafamily feud that spilled into court. The other members of the family alleged that John had designs on relocating the franchise to Nashville, Tennessee, apparently unsatisfied with the state’s plan to allocate $600 million in funding for improvements to Camden Yards and seeking additional taxpayer dollars to build a ballpark village (as well as development rights on state-owned parking lots nearby).

While all this was going on, the O’s payroll was consistently at or near the bottom of the league; Baltimore hasn’t ranked higher than 27th in Opening Day payroll since 2018. That was understandable when the team was in the depths of a rebuild. After winning 101 games and winning the AL East in 2023, however, it’s an inexcusable state of affairs, and one that John Angelos didn’t seem willing or able to correct — leading to calls for him to sell the team rather than trying to use it as a real estate investment.

Enter Rubenstein, who will reportedly become the club’s “control person” with Major League Baseball — a fancy way of saying the franchise’s main decision maker. Rubenstein’s estimated worth is around $3.7 billion, according to Forbes. Earlier this week, he announced he was retiring from the Kennedy Center board next January, which should give him more time to focus on running his childhood team. If Rubenstein’s involvement leads to a boost in spending, it could alter the landscape of the league. Baltimore has among the best young cores in baseball, with catcher Adley Rutschman, infielder Gunnar Henderson, and righty Grayson Rodriguez plus a slew of youngsters behind them — including the No. 1 prospect in the sport in Jackson Holliday. To date, Baltimore’s only significant offseason move was signing Craig Kimbrel to a one-year, $13 million deal.