The private equity firm has invested in the Los Angeles Dodgers, Chicago Cubs, San Francisco Giants, San Diego Padres, Houston Astros and Boston Red Sox, said the people, who were granted anonymity because the agreements are private. Of those six, only the Red Sox investment, a deal done with parent Fenway Sports Group roughly two years ago, has previously been reported.
It’s unclear how much of each team Arctos purchased, or how the clubs were valued in each transaction. Representatives for Arctos, the Dodgers and Astros declined to comment, while representatives for the Padres and Cubs didn’t respond to requests for comment. A spokeswoman for the Giants confirmed that Arctos had invested but declined to provide details.
MLB was among the first major U.S. leagues to allow private equity investment—a change made in late 2019—before the NBA, NHL and MLS made similar adjustments to their ownership rules. The decision came as a direct response to a growing problem in all U.S. leagues: As team valuations skyrocket, the pool of potential buyers is shrinking, particularly for minority stakes that don’t include voting rights or a path to control.
A number of private equity firms have cut deals with franchises, but none have done as many as Arctos, which had about $2.9 billion under management as of October and had already made more than a dozen investments. The group, led by private equity veteran Ian Charles and former MSG CEO David “Doc” O’Connor, has already purchased stakes in some NBA teams (Warriors, Kings), NHL teams (Lightning, Wild) and some non-franchise entities like Elevate Sports Ventures.
The New York Yankees ($6.75 billion) are the most valuable team in baseball, according to Sportico, followed by four Arctos investments: the Red Sox ($4.8 billion), Dodgers ($4.62 billion), Cubs ($4.14 billion) and Giants ($3.49 billion). The Astros are 11th at $2.19 billion; the Padres are 16th at $1.76 billion.
While some leagues have placed a limit on the number of teams that can be owned by a single fund—it’s five in the NHL and NBA, four in MLS—MLB has no such cap, according to people familiar with the rules. (An MLB representative declined to comment). That means Arctos is free to expand the baseball portfolio beyond those six franchises.
A fund can only own up to 15% of an MLB team, and teams can only sell 30% of their equity to PE funds.
(This article has been updated with a no comment from the Astros.)