The Learner family is investigating the sale of Washington Nationals

The family of real estate tycoon Ted Lerner bought Washington Nationals from Major League Baseball 16 years ago and oversaw the restructuring process, which eventually led to the World Series Championship, which has begun the process of exploring possible changes in the club’s ownership structure. Opportunity to sell the team.

Mark D., son of Ted Lerner, who now serves as the club’s managing principal owner. Lerner told The Washington Post on Monday that the family had hired New York investment bank Allen & Company to research investors and possibly buyers for Nationals. .

“It’s a review process, so do not expect a specific timetable or a specific outcome,” Mark Lerner said in a statement. “The company is as committed as ever to putting their employees, players, fans, sponsors and partners and a competitive product on the field.”

The panel said no option was removed. While a full transfer of ownership is possible, the learners could also bring in additional partners, said team spokeswoman Jennifer Giglio.

“The team believes it is prudent to evaluate all the options out there as the streams of revenue surrounding professional sports continue to grow and the strength of the Washington Nationals brand continues to grow,” Giglio said.

However, the Learners ’announcement calls into question the direction of the national race – both short-term and long-term. Outfielder Juan Soto has one of the best young players in the Nationals game, and it is unclear how this announcement will affect negotiations for a long-term contract extension for the 23-year-old. The group has also been embroiled in years of controversy over the revenue of the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network, which broadcasts Nationals games but is controlled by the Baltimore Orioles.

“This process does not affect the team’s ability to make baseball decisions,” Giglio said. “It will not divert the company from our goal of being a first-rate organization and fielding a winning team.”

Ted Lerner, 96, transferred day-to-day control of the team to Mark Lerner. But no matter whose name is on the corporate run table, the family – including Ted’s wife Annette; Daughters Debra Lerner Cohen and Marla Lerner Tanenbaum; And nephews Edward Cohen and Robert Donnenbaum – who have always made decisions by consensus. This includes the pursuit of Washington’s NFL ownership in 1999; The league eventually chose Daniel Snyder.

The decision to embark on a process that could result in group sales reflects a face of family.

“We will never sell Nationals,” Mark Lerner told The Post in 2018 when he accepted his current role. “In those years we worked hard to get that. We think we’re doing it well. There’s no purpose to this family – of course when I’m alive and my sisters and nephews are alive – no one is going to sell this team.

Ted Lerner started his real estate empire in the 1950s. He sold homes to developers before building the property. Learners helped build the massive Tysons Corner Center in North Virginia and other shopping areas throughout the DC area, including Tysons II and the Dallas Town Center.

But the corona virus epidemic has put tremendous pressure on the commercial real estate business. In 2016, Forbes put the net worth of the Dead Learner at $ 5.5 billion. By 2020, it will have dropped to $ 3.7 billion. Forbes puts his current value at $ 4.5 billion.

Asked if the impact of the epidemic on the family’s financial status played a role in this decision, the group said the learners’ “real estate business continues to thrive.” However, as the 2020 baseball season was shortened and played without fans, revenue for MLB owners was also a huge success.

Ted and Annette Lerner’s grandchildren grew up in the Nationals family’s stewardship. Now in their 30s, at least four of them are involved in the family business. Many who worked for the club and with it thought it would capture that generation for a long time. The next generation will be “enthusiastic supporters of the nationalists and ready, willing and capable of leadership,” Kiglio said. But they also support the process of evaluating these options.

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In 2006, the learners paid $ 450 million to buy the Major League Baseball Club, which moved from Montreal to the nation’s capital in 2005. The bid for their victory went out to the other seven groups and was won by then-Commissioner Butt Celik. The family’s deep local roots and commitment to being financially responsible for a city that has passed more than three decades without major league baseball.

The transition from running malls and other business plans was sometimes flat. The family gained a reputation within the company for questioning every expense, from travel expenses for scouts to stopwatches for minor league coaches to extra pads for players.

“There seems to be some common sense in the real estate business and in some of our other businesses,” Ted Lerner told his alma mater in 2007 at a forum at George Washington University. “Are you having fun?” People keep asking me the question. In one case ‘is the answer. I finally figured out what ’24 / 7 ‘means.

But following a development plan originally devised by Stan Gaston, who led the team from 2006 to 2010, and general manager Mike Risso, the Nationals became consistent rivals. From 2012 to 2019, the team won four National League East Division Championships and appeared five times in the postseason, winning more regular season games than any other team, but the Los Angeles Dodgers in the meantime. During the 2019 playoffs, the Wild-Card Nationals beat the Houston Astros in seven games and reached the World Series title in October, culminating in progress.

Throughout that run of success, the Learners provided resources for major league pay. In 2010, they surprised their rivals by signing Agent Outfielder Jason Werth on a seven-year, $ 126 million contract – the first nine-digit deal the family has ever awarded. In 2012, they re-signed Ryan Zimmerman, the first draft pick in license history, for a six-year, $ 100 million extension, and in 2015 they killed Star Pitcher Max Scherzer on a seven-year, $ 210 million contract. After Stephen Strasbourg was named MVP of the World Series, Learners paid Pitcher $ 245 million in seven years.

Although domestic stars such as outfielder Price Harper and third-paceman Anthony Renton have left the free agency, the club began a new restructuring process last year by trading in Scherzer and All-Star shortstop Tree Turner, investors – and potential buyers -. Forbes estimates Nationals is worth $ 2 billion this season, up 4 percent from a year ago, the 12th most valuable of 30 MLB owners.

In 2020, hedge fund billionaire Steve Cohen bought the New York Mets for $ 2.4 billion. In 2017, businessman Bruce Sherman bought the Miami Marlins – which ranks bottom in annual baseball participation – for $ 1.2 billion.

Allen & Company has managed sales of several sports owners, including the Carolina Panthers of the Mets and the NFL. The Denver Broncos recently listed the company to conduct the sale of that rights.

Chelsea Janes and Jesse Togerti contributed to this report.

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