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David Rubenstein has a deal to buy the Baltimore Orioles for $1.725 billion, AP source says

Co-chairman of the private equity firm of The Carlyle Group David Rubenstein attends a session on the closing day of the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos, on Jan. 19, 2024. Carlyle Group Inc. co-founder David Rubenstein has reached an agreement to buy the Baltimore Orioles for $1.725 billion, according to a source who knows about the deal.

Fabrice Coffrini | Afp | Getty Images

Carlyle Group Inc. co-founder David Rubenstein has reached an agreement to buy the Baltimore Orioles for $1.725 billion, according to a person with knowledge of the deal.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Tuesday night because the agreement had not been announced. Rubenstein, a Baltimore native, would take over as the team’s controlling owner, and he’s assembled an investment team that includes Ares co-founder Michael Arougheti.

The Angelos family has been in control of the Orioles since 1993, when Peter Angelos purchased the team for $173 million. Angelos’ son John is the team’s current chairman. The team recently reached a deal on a new lease extension at Camden Yards. Maryland officials approved that long-term agreement after months of negotiations.

The deal extended the lease for 30 years, with an option to end it after 15 if the team does not receive approval from state officials for development plans next to the ballpark.

Prior to forming Carlyle in 1987, Rubenstein practiced law in Washington. From 1977-81, he was a deputy assistant for domestic policy to President Jimmy Carter. After graduating from Duke in 1970, he attended University of Chicago Law School.

The sale agreement, which requires approval from major league owners, was first reported by Puck.

The Orioles are coming off a 101-win season and their first AL East title since 2014. With young stars like Adley Rutschman and Gunnar Henderson — and another top prospect on the way in Jackson Holliday — the future looks as bright as it has in a while for a team that hasn’t won a World Series since 1983.

One sore spot with fans is the club’s payroll, which has remained low, and it’s been another quiet offseason for the team so far. If the new ownership group is able to keep Baltimore’s young core together, the Orioles could have a lengthy window of contention.

When Peter Angelos first took control of the Orioles, they had recently started playing at Camden Yards, the downtown venue that revolutionized the way baseball parks were built. The Orioles spent aggressively, at least for a little while, and won the division in 1997 with future Hall of Famers Cal Ripken, Roberto Alomar, Mike Mussina and Harold Baines.

After that, Baltimore didn’t make the postseason again until 2012, when the Orioles began a renaissance under manager Buck Showalter. They eventually had to rebuild again, losing at least 108 games in 2018, 2019 and 2021 — a streak interrupted only by the pandemic-shortened 2020 season.

Even as the team posted the best record in the American League last year, there were ominous signs, such as a New York Times piece in which Angelos was quoted as saying: “When people talk about giving this player $200 million, that player $150 million, we would be so financially underwater that you’d have to raise the prices massively.”

A sale must be approved in a vote of at least 75% by the 30 major league teams. The sales approval process typically lasts several months.

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