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Who is David Rubenstein? Angelos family confirms agreement to sell Baltimore Orioles for $1.7B

By Adam Thompson, Paul Gessler, Cristina Mendez

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    BALTIMORE, Maryland (WJZ) — The Angelos family has agreed to sell the Baltimore Orioles to Baltimore native and billionaire David Rubenstein.

The Orioles will be purchased for $1.725 billion, the Orioles announced on Wednesday.

“Our collective goal will be to bring a World Series Trophy back to the City of Baltimore,” Rubenstein said.

Rubenstein leads an investment group that includes billionaire Michael Arougheti, along with Mitchell Goldstein, Michael Smith, and Maryland leaders, philanthropists and sports legends.

“I am grateful to the Angelos family for the opportunity to join the team I have been a fan of my entire life,” Rubenstein said. “I look forward to working with all the Orioles owners, players and staff to build upon the incredible success the team has achieved in recent seasons. To the fans, I say: we do it for you and can’t do it without you. Thank you for your support.”

The purchase must still be approved by MLB owners who are expected to convene in Orlando next week. The vote must receive 75% approval.

“When I took on the role of Chair and CEO of the Orioles, we had the objective of restoring the franchise to elite status in major league sports, keeping the team in Baltimore for years to come, and revitalizing our partnership group,” John Angelos said. “This relationship with David Rubenstein and his partners validates that we have not only met but exceeded our goals.”

The Orioles say Rubenstein’s investment group includes Orioles legend Cal Ripken Jr., former NBA star Grant Hill, former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg and former Baltimore mayor Kurt Schmoke.

“I am excited to once again be a part of the @Orioles organization and I thank @DM_Rubenstein for including me in the ownership group,” Ripken said on social media. “The Orioles have been a part of my life since I was a child, and this is a special day. I look forward to this opportunity and will do whatever I can to help the organization. Let’s go O’s!”

The sale even includes the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network, which broadcasts games of both the Orioles and Washington Nationals, according to our media partners with The Baltimore Banner.

The Baltimore Orioles are a treasured piece of our community, and the governor looks forward to the upcoming season, as well as the future work to spur economic momentum in the entire City of Baltimore and throughout the state,” Gov. Wes Moore’s office said in a statement.

Ripken, who retired from baseball in 2001 following a 20-year career, is in the Baseball Hall of Fame. He was a 19-time MLB All-star, two-time MVP, two-time Gold Glove winner and helped the Orioles to the 1983 World Series championship.

He owns Major League Baseball’s record for consecutive games played with 2,632.

Ripken grew up in Harford County and was drafted by the Orioles in 1978. He made his Orioles debut in 1981.

The Angelos family will remain a major investor in the Orioles after the close of the investment.

“I am personally committed to helping David and his partners take the franchise to the next level,” John Angelos said. “We think this transaction is great for Major League Baseball and great for the City of Baltimore and Maryland. We are thankful to the fans and supporters cheering on the O’s as we reached this important goal – and who will be with us celebrating more success to come.”

Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott expressed excitement over the deal announcement.

In December, Bloomberg News reported that Rubenstein was among those interested in purchasing the Orioles from the Angelos family.

Rubenstein, 74, was born in Baltimore, and he has a net worth of $4.6 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. He made his fortune in private equity.

“You’re talking about one of the most successful private equity billionaires in the world,” said Justin Birnbaum, who covers sports business for Forbes. “There’s a status symbol associated with it, and these guys love ‘playing in the toy box,’ I guess you could say.”

Maryland leaders reacted to the news Wednesday morning.

Gov. Moore hopes the future of the Orioles has a World Series title in it.

“Regardless of this transaction, that will never change,” Moore said. “These are the Baltimore Orioles and they’re going nowhere.”

Peter Angelos, 94, is the Orioles’ majority owner. His son, John Angelos, is running the day-to-day operations.

The Angelos family has controlled the Orioles for almost as long as they’ve been in Camden Yards when Peter Angelos bought the team for $173 million in 1993.

John Angelos has been chairman since his father’s health declined years ago. Brothers John and Louis have battled over control of the family’s businesses in court. The dueling lawsuits have since been resolved.

In December, a new long-term lease agreement was approved that would keep the Orioles at Camden Yards.

“Governor Moore would like to thank the Angelos family for their contributions to the Orioles community and this storied franchise,” a statement from the governor’s office said. “Keeping the Orioles in Baltimore for the long term was a key priority for this administration and we are proud that this transaction won’t change that.”

State treasurer Dereck Davis said he felt John Angelos lied during the process.

“Nothing against the new owners, but I feel lied to. I feel misled,” Davis said. “It’s deeply disappointing and troubling that you could look your state in the eye and outright lie to us about your intention. We had a right to know.”

Pamela Wood, a reporter for our media partner the Baltimore Banner, reported that state leaders were not informed that Angelos was selling the team.

“The governor, the treasurer, the comptroller, they were not called or informed by John Angelos or the Orioles,” Wood said. “They found out the same way the rest of us did—in the news that the team was being sold.”

Rubenstein has powerful relationships, sitting down with CEOs and presidents. He hosted the president and first lady at his Nantucket home last Thanksgiving.

He is the longtime chairman of The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.

“I can’t say to how he’ll run the team, but I think it’s always a good recipe when a new owner has some sort of hometown tie or connection to the team,” Birnbaum said.

The Orioles are coming off a 101-win season, their best since 1980. They also made it to the playoffs, along with winning the American League East for the first time since 2014.

The team has a lot of young talent to showcase, led by Adley Rutschman, Gunnar Henderson, Jackson Holliday and Grayson Rodriguez.

“Importantly, the impact of the Orioles extends far beyond the baseball diamond,” Rubenstein said. “The opportunity for the team to catalyze development around Camden Yards and in downtown Baltimore will provide generations of fans with lifelong memories and create additional economic opportunities for our community.”

Orioles fans have suggested that the new owners get to know the team’s supporters.

“The new owners, they need to get to know the fanbase a little bit,” Baltimore resident Austin Caufield said. “Come down to Pickles on opening day, see what it’s like.”

Caufield said he hopes the deal means that the Orioles won’t be going anywhere.

“What I’d like to say to the players is that we love you,” Baltimore resident Larry Wiczulis said. “We hope we can keep you as long as we possibly can, and I think with the new ownership and more money, more financial wherewithal, that we’ll be able to keep the players, keep the court here to build a dynasty here, and have multiple world championships in Baltimore.”

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