Major League Baseball’s (MLB) Baltimore Orioles could be the subject of a takeover bid with interested buyers circling a franchise that may soon be put up for sale.
The team is owned by US billionaire Peter Angelos, who in 1993 paid a then franchise record of US$173 million to acquire the club. Though Angelos has not expressed public interest in selling, The 91-year-old is in ‘continued poor health’, prompting speculation that tax laws ‘could create a favourable sale opportunity for his heirs after his death’.
At least three people have shown interest in forming bidding groups should the Angelos family decide to sell the Orioles, according to the Baltimore Sun.
The local newspaper added that former Orioles president and chief executive Larry Lucchino has been approached about forming an ownership group, though he purportedly does not consider such a move to be appropriate at this time.
The identities of the other interested parties have not been reported, but others linked to the franchise in the past include Carlyle Group founder and co-chief executive David Rubenstein and Allegis Group co-founder and chair Jim Davis.
The Baltimore Sun report added that MLB has told baseball hall of famer Cal Ripken Jr that it would like him to be part of an ownership or management group if the Orioles are sold. Ripken has responded by saying his involvement “was just speculation”.
An MLB source in The Baltimore Sun report said that the league was “not trying to undercut the Angelos family” and that it is “common for the league to speak casually with people who could become part of future ownership groups.”
The Orioles are currently valued at US$1.4 billion, according to Forbes. Should a formal takeover process commence, the franchise could follow fellow MLB side the New York Mets in changing hands. The club’s US$2.4 billion takeover was confirmed earlier this week after MLB team owners approved the sale from the Wilpon family to American billionaire hedge fund manager Steve Cohen.
Author: James Parker