In David Rubenstein’s first public statement since news broke Tuesday that he had agreed to a deal that will make him the Orioles’ “control person,” the billionaire and Baltimore native uttered the words that could win over a fan base: “Our collective goal will be to bring a World Series Trophy back to the City of Baltimore.”

Rubenstein’s joint statement with John Angelos confirms that the Angelos family will sell a controlling stake to the new ownership group. However, before the deal is finalized, the transaction is subject to review and approval by MLB’s ownership committee and a full vote from MLB ownership.

News of the sale continued to reverberate through Maryland on Wednesday. Orioles fans were ecstatic. Gov. Wes Moore welcomed the new ownership group and touted the fact that the team’s new lease at Camden Yards, which ties the Orioles to Baltimore for at least 15 years, remains binding. Dereck Davis, a member of the Board of Public Works who also signed off on the lease, lashed out at Angelos, who had said the team was not for sale. “I feel lied to. I feel misled,” Davis said.

The deal, worth $1.725 billion, will introduce three billionaires and a handful of other partners under Rubenstein’s lead. The group includes former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Michael Arougheti, the co-founder and CEO of Ares Management.

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Additionally, Orioles legend Cal Ripken Jr., NBA Hall of Famer Grant Hill, business leader and Washington Spirit owner Michele Kang, former Baltimore Mayor Kurt Schmoke, and co-heads of the Ares Credit Group Mitchell Goldstein and Michael Smith make up the rest of the team.

“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 in a statement. “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. Our collective goal will be to bring a World Series Trophy back to the City of Baltimore. To the fans I say: we do it for you and can’t do it without you. Thank you for your support.”

John Angelos will remain in a senior adviser role with the Orioles, and the family will continue to be major investors.

“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,” Angelos said in a statement. “This relationship with David Rubenstein and his partners validates that we have not only met but exceeded our goals.”

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According to a source familiar with how the deal came together, Rubenstein began expressing interest in purchasing the Orioles about six years ago. He also showed interest in purchasing the Washington Nationals at one point in a joint effort with Ted Leonsis, the owner of Monumental Sports and the Capitals, Wizards and Mystics.

“Importantly, the impact of the Orioles extends far beyond the baseball diamond,” Rubenstein added. “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.”

Ripken, whose number is retired after a record-breaking Orioles career, said in a statement: “I am excited to once again be a part of the Orioles organization and I thank David for including me in the ownership group. 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.”

In a joint statement, Maryland Gov. Wes Moore, the Maryland Stadium Authority and the entire Moore administration sent their congratulations to the new ownership group.

“The governor looks forward to continuing the strong relationship between the State of Maryland and the Baltimore Orioles,” the statement said. “Governor Moore would like to thank the Angelos family for their contributions to the Orioles community and this storied franchise. 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.

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“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.”

The investment group spearheaded by Rubenstein has partners hailing from sports, political and business backgrounds.

Rubenstein leads the pack. A co-founder and co-chairman of The Carlyle Group, Rubenstein is a Baltimore City College alum. Carlyle Group manages $382 billion from 28 offices around the world, a release said. Rubenstein recently announced his intention to step down as the chairman of the board of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. He’s also a chairman for the Council on Foreign Relations, the National Gallery of Art, the Economic Club of Washington, and the University of Chicago, and a trustee of Johns Hopkins Medicine.

Hill, a Hall of Fame NBA player who made seven All-Star Games, grew up in Fairfax County, Virginia. After his basketball career, he joined a bid led by Tony Ressler to buy the Atlanta Hawks in 2015. Hill also is a broadcaster and owns a marketing and management company that includes real estate holdings and a personal art collection.

His father, former NFL star Calvin Hill, formerly worked within the Orioles’ front office as the vice president for personnel.

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Bloomberg and Rubenstein have had a close relationship for years. Rubenstein has two shows on Bloomberg Television, in which he interviews high-profile business leaders and other noteworthy figures.

Bloomberg, 81, served as New York City’s mayor from 2002 to 2013. An alumnus of Johns Hopkins, he has donated more than $3.5 billion to his alma mater for various causes, including the Bloomberg School of Public Health, the Bloomberg-Kimmel Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy and the Bloomberg Center, and the recently opened Bloomberg Center in the former Newseum building in Washington.

Schmoke was mayor of Baltimore from 1987-99, which coincides with the 1992 opening of Oriole Park at Camden Yards in downtown. He was a classmate of Rubenstein’s at Baltimore City College.

Kang is the founder and CEO of a medical technology company. She’s also the majority owner of the Washington Spirit, D.C.’s National Women’s Soccer League team, and the London City Lionesses in England. She’s in the process of purchasing the French women’s team Olympique Lyonnais Féminin.

Kang took majority ownership of the Spirit in 2022. Although she’s been broadly popular among fans of the club since, the team’s administration has drawn criticism for how it handled terminating front office staff late last year and how it handled two key trades just before the National Women’s Soccer League draft this year.

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Baltimore Banner reporter Pamela Wood contributed to this report.

Andy Kostka is an Orioles beat writer for The Baltimore Banner. He previously covered the Orioles for The Baltimore Sun. Kostka graduated from the University of Maryland and grew up in Rockville. 

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