Latest On Orioles’ Ownership Situation

An ongoing legal battle among the Angelos family, which owns the Orioles, has hung over for the franchise for a few months. Longtime owner Peter Angelos, 93, is in poor health, and the franchise’s long-term direction has been a point of contention. Angelos’ wife, Georgia, will inherit the team once Peter passes away, while their son John has served as the franchise’s official control person in recent years.

Louis Angelos, son of Peter and Georgia, recently initiated litigation against his mother and brother in an attempt to force a sale of the franchise. Louis alleges a sale is the desired outcome for both his parents and argues in his complaint that “John has been misleading his mother into believing that he has been working to achieve her goal of a sale of the Orioles.” John Angelos then released a statement reiterating his family’s ties to the franchise and firmly rejecting the possibility of the organization relocating from Baltimore. Georgia Angelos, meanwhile, has previously expressed her faith in John’s leadership and filed a countersuit against Louis Angelos last month.

Against that backdrop, Daniel Kaplan of the Athletic now writes the franchise hired financial firm Goldman Sachs a few months ago to look into the possibility of a sale. That isn’t a new development; Jeff Barker of the Baltimore Sun reported last month Georgia Angelos confirmed in court filings she “had retained Goldman Sachs and Jones Day to provide investment banking and legal services in connection with the sale of the Orioles.” Nevertheless, Kaplan hears that John and Georgia Angelos continue to explore their options for the franchise, even if there’s no guarantee they’ll eventually put the organization up for sale. Barker, meanwhile, wrote last month that John Angelos was interested in selling a minority share of the franchise while retaining the family’s overall control and keeping the team in Baltimore.

Both Barker and Kaplan suggest that any sale of the franchise, if it were to arise, could wait until after Peter Angelos passes away. While Georgia Angelos stands to inherit the franchise tax free upon her husband’s death, Louis Angelos’ court filings suggest a sale while Peter Angelos is still alive would have “a sizable tax hit.”

The nearby Nationals, with which the Orioles are still embroiled in a years-long suit over television rights fees, are currently going through a sales process themselves. The Lerner family announced in April they’d begun to explore a sale of the Washington franchise, and Kaplan hears from a source they’re seeking $2.5 billion in that deal. That same source suggests the Orioles could wait until after the Nationals’ sale is completed to begin any sales process of their own, given the likely market overlap. Angels owner Arte Moreno is also looking into a franchise sale, although that’s obviously in a much different geographical area.

There’ll certainly be more to come as the Angelos’ various litigations develop, likely over multiple months. The Orioles lease at Camden Yards runs through the end of next season. The team has the right to trigger a five-year option, extending the lease through the 2028 campaign, by February 1 of next year.

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