The MLB ownership committee has approved the sale of a controlling stake in the Baltimore Orioles to a group led by billionaire investor David Rubenstein, according to a source with direct knowledge of the matter.

This approval was a key step in the sale process. Now, the deal will be brought to a vote of all MLB owners, the last step before it is finalized. At least 22 of the other 29 owners will need to sign on for the deal to go through, and the vote could happen in the next few weeks. This can be done virtually and does not need to wait for the next in-person MLB owners meeting, which will not take place until this summer.

The sale is expected to get a favorable vote. Last month, Commissioner Rob Manfred said he’d like to get the deal completed “as quickly as possible.”

Rubenstein and his group, which includes Orioles legend Cal Ripken Jr., billionaire Michael Bloomberg and former Baltimore Mayor Kurt Schmoke, agreed to purchase a 40% stake in the team from John Angelos in January. Angelos will retain a 30% stake of the team and stay on as a senior adviser.

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As news of the latest step broke Friday night, Angelos and Rubenstein shared a box in Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota, Florida, while taking in the Orioles’ spring training game against the Detroit Tigers. In the last week, Rubenstein has been getting close-ups of the franchise he stands to control, including walkthroughs of the Sarasota facility and Camden Yards itself.

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The deal values the franchise at $1.725 billion and includes the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network, which broadcasts the Orioles and Washington Nationals.

Peter Angelos, 94, has owned a majority stake in the Orioles since 1993, when he bought the franchise for $173 million. But his son, John, has been the control person since 2019 due to Peter’s age and declining health. Peter has advanced dementia, according to court documents. His health status is unknown, but the law firm that bears his name was recently sold to three of the firm’s attorneys.

Rubenstein will become the control person once the sale is approved.

The deal came on the heels of one of the winningest seasons of the Angelos stewardship but also after a laborious process to extend the Orioles’ lease at Camden Yards. As recently as December, Angelos was assuring state leaders that the franchise was not for sale as officials raced to complete a long-term lease before the end-of-the-year deadline.

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Rubenstein, 74, has a net worth of $3.9 billion, according to Forbes. He made his fortune as one of the founders of The Carlyle Group, one of the largest private equity firms in the world. Rubenstein, a Baltimore native who grew up playing youth baseball in the city, has been after the team for some time.

He considered a bid to buy the Nationals in 2022 with Ted Leonsis, the owner of the Wizards, Mystics and Capitals, but the Lerners, who own the team, did not approve it, according to Bloomberg News. The Nationals are no longer for sale.

The investment group is rounded out by Michael Arougheti, the co-founder, CEO, president and director of Ares Management Corp.; Michele Kang, the founder and CEO of a medical technology company and majority owner of the National Women’s Soccer League’s Washington Spirit; Grant Hill, an NBA Hall of Famer; and two other Ares Management Corp. partners, Mitchell Goldstein and Michael Smith.

Bloomberg News — part of the financial software and media company founded by Michael Bloomberg — first reported the committee’s vote. Rubenstein hosts shows on the company’s television network.

When news of the sale broke, Rubenstein’s first statement promised, “Our collective goal will be to bring a World Series Trophy back to the City of Baltimore.”

With one more approval by MLB owners, his pursuit will begin in earnest.

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