The family that owns Major League Baseball’s Washington Nationals has taken initial steps to put the team up for sale, according to a report.
Mark Lerner, the managing principal owner of the Nats, told The Washington Post that he has retained the services of New York-based investment bank Allen & Company to seek out potential buyers for the club.
“This is an exploratory process, so there is no set timetable or expectation of a specific outcome,” Lerner told The Washington Post in a statement.
“The organization is as committed as ever to their employees, players, fans, sponsors and partners and to putting a competitive product on the field.”
The Lerners could either sell the team or bring on other investors while retaining a controlling stake in the club, according to a team spokesperson.
“As revenue streams around professional sports continue to evolve and the strength of the Washington Nationals brand continues to grow, the team believes it is prudent to assess all of the options out there,” the spokesperson, Jennifer Giglio, told The Washington Post.
The announcement has clouded the future of the team, particularly its plans for a new, long-term contract with its star player, 23-year-old outfield Juan Soto.
“This process does not impact the team’s ability to make baseball decisions,” Giglio said.
“It will not distract the organization from our goal of being a first-class organization and fielding a winning team.”
Lerner’s father, real estate magnate Ted Lerner, 96, bought the Nationals from Major League Baseball in 2006, paying $450 million for the franchise that was once known as the Montreal Expos.
MLB moved the team from Quebec province to the nation’s capital in 2005.
The team is currently valued by Forbes at around $ 2 billion.
In 2018, Ted Lerner transferred day-to-day control of the team to his son, Mark, who has solicited the advice of his mother, Annette; his sisters Debra Lerner Cohen and Marla Lerner Tanenbaum; and his brothers-in-law Edward Cohen and Robert Tanenbaum.
The family makes decisions running the team through consensus, according to the Post.
Ted Lerner’s estimated net worth has been valued at $4.5 billion.
The Nats enjoyed a decade of success, winning four National League East divisional titles between the years 2012 and 2019.
In 2019, the franchise captured the World Series title, defeating the Houston Astros in seven games.
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