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WASHINGTON, D.C. – The WASHINGTON NATIONALS announced the official transfer of ownership from Major League Baseball to the Lerner group and their partners. The money to buy the club was wired to Major League Baseball on Monday morning to make it official. The sale price was $450 million.

The paperwork between the Lerner group and MLB was completed during Friday's game between the Nationals and the Cubs. TED LERNER will be the managing principal owner of the team and MARK LERNER, EDWARD COHEN and ROBERT TANENBAUM will be principal owners of the team. All major decisions will be made together as a board with team President STAN KASTEN.

"It has long been my dream to bring the national pastime back to my hometown, the nation's capital," said Ted Lerner. " Now that it's been realized, I plan on doing everything I can to make sure that this franchise becomes an international jewel for MLB, D.C. and the nation." Major League Baseball announced it was selling the Nationals to the Lerners on Thursday 4 May.

Ted Lerner is the head of a Washington-based real estate empire that spans the Maryland and Northern Virginia suburbs. As one of the main shareholders of Lincoln Holdings LLC, the Lerners are already ingrained in the local professional sports culture. That entity owns the NHL's Capitals and WNBA's Mystics, plus a minority share in the NBA's Wizards and the Verizon Center, the downtown arena where all three teams play.

The Lerners join the likes of John Moores of the Padres, Frank and Jamie McCourt of the Dodgers, Carl Pohlad of the Twins and Fred Wilpon of the Mets as the newest of baseball's family-run ownerships. "I am extremely pleased to welcome the Lerner family and their partners into Major League Baseball," said Commissioner ALLAN H. ' BUD ' SELIG. " As I've come to know Ted and his family better over the past several weeks, I'm more certain than ever that they will provide the kind of committed and stable ownership that will help this franchise flourish in the D.C. area for years and years to come."

The Lerner group has already announced its plan to rebuild the Nationals farm system and give back to the community.

The Lerners already put the stamp on the Nationals this past weekend, launching a grand re-opening celebration. "This is an exciting challenge," said Kasten. " Now that all the T's are crossed and all the I's are dotted, the real fun work begins to make this franchise a long-term success on and off the field."

Special to Canadian Baseball News – 24 July 2006

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