Baltimore native David Rubenstein approved as new Orioles owner just in time for Opening Day

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 January 19, 2024. (Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP) (Photo by FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP via Getty Images)

Two things will begin for the Baltimore Orioles on Thursday: the 2024 season and a new era of ownership.

Billionaire businessman and Baltimore native David Rubenstein was approved as the new owner of the Orioles on Wednesday, finalizing the sale of the team for a reported $1.725 billion.

"I congratulate David Rubenstein on receiving approval from the major league clubs as a new control person of the Orioles," commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement. "As a Baltimore native and a lifelong fan of the team, David is uniquely suited to lead the Orioles moving forward. We welcome David and his partners as the new stewards of the franchise."

The ownership group also includes Baseball Hall of Famer and Orioles legend Cal Ripken, NBA Hall of Famer Grant Hill, former New York mayor and billionaire Michael Bloomberg, and former Baltimore mayor Kurt Schmoke, as well as Michele Kang, Mitchell Goldstein and Michael Smith.

The sale was originally for a 40% share of the team, with the remainder transferring after the death of patriarch Peter Angelos. Following Angelos' death Saturday at age 94, Rubenstein has assumed full ownership of the team.

Angelos had owned the Orioles since 1993, when he and a group of investors bought the team for $173 million. His son, John Angelos, had been the main control person for the team since 2019, when Peter stepped aside due to poor health.

Manfred thanked the Angelos family on Wednesday after the vote.

"On behalf of Major League Baseball, I thank the Angelos family for their many years of service to the game and the communities of Baltimore. Peter Angelos loved baseball, loved Baltimore, and was an important part of MLB for more than three decades."

The sale had been rumored since December, roughly six months after the Angelos family settled an internal legal battle between John Angelos, his brother, Louis, and their mother (and Peter's wife), Georgia. Louis sued John in 2022, claiming that John had been undermining Georgia's ownership of the team and trying to move the Orioles to Nashville, Tennessee. The suit got nasty, with all three family members releasing various statements, but it was eventually dropped by all parties.

Rubenstein, 74, is co-founder and co-chairman of the Carlyle Group, a global private equity firm. He was born in Baltimore and attended Baltimore City College. Bloomberg estimates that his net worth is $4.6 billion, while Forbes estimated in late 2022 that it was $3.2 billion. Forbes estimates the value of the Orioles to be $1.7 billion, 18th out of 30 MLB teams.