Monday December 4, 2023

Cleveland MLB Team Looking to Sell Large Minority Stake

  • The Cleveland Guardians are looking to sell a minority stake to an investor who could eventually take control of the team.
  • Co-owner and CEO Paul Dolan is offering a 30% to 40% stake.
Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports/Design: Alex Brooks
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On the cusp of changing its name, Cleveland’s MLB team may also have an ownership change on the horizon.

Chairman and CEO Paul Dolan is on the hunt for a minority owner who could eventually take majority control of the team. Dolan co-owns the team with his father, Lawrence Dolan (uncle to New York Knicks and Rangers owner James Dolan). 

The team is looking to sell 30% to 40% of the team at a $1.4 billion valuation. Forbes valued the team at $1.16 billion in March.

  • Most of the stake would be what was previously owned by Kansas City businessman John Sherman — close to 30% — plus some of Paul Dolan’s stake. Sherman had been in line to eventually acquire the Cleveland team when he pivoted to the Kansas City Royals.
  • Sherman’s stake has been in escrow since he purchased the Royals for $1 billion in 2019.
  • The Dolan family purchased the team for $323 million in 2000.

A potential complication in the sale is the timeline in which a buyer could take minority control. The Dolan family could reportedly retain control for at least five years — potentially longer than some investors want to wait.

The team is in the process of finalizing its name change to the Cleveland Guardians, which involves resolving a legal dispute with a roller derby team with the same name. 

It is also awaiting city approval on a 15-year stadium lease with two five-year options that would end any question of the team’s relocation.

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