D.C. United's majority owner sells stake in team

Brian Tinsman
April 10, 2018 - 2:18 pm
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Peter G. Aiken/USA TODAY Sports

With a state-of-the-art stadium opening in Washington, D.C. this summer and a brand new training facility in Loudoun County slated to open next Spring, D.C. United has never been more valuable.

Which is why majority owner Erick Thohir is cashing out, selling his stake in the team to partner Jason Levien, for a reported $500 million.

In turn, Levien is assembling a group of investors that the Washington Post reports will include billionaire, Los Angeles Lakers minority owner and Los Angeles Times principal owner Patrick Soon-Shiong.

It's also possible that his group of investors will include Thohir, who currently owns 78 percent of the team.

Thohir has been the team's principal owner since July 2012, with Levien owning the other 22 percent of the team. Even if he does not invest enough in the new ownership agreement to be the majority owner, it is expected that he will remain the figure in charge of ownership decisionmaking. 

Even while Thohir was the majority owner, Levien served as the face of the investment group. Thohir also invested a majority stake in Italian powerhouse Inter Milan, but later sold that as well.

Last summer, Thohir announced that the team was looking for additional investors, but was not planning to sell the club. "We’re looking for someone who brings value."

In the past, Capitals, Wizards and Mystics owner Ted Leonsis expressed regret in not investing in the team when he had a chance.

“I looked at buying it outright 10 years ago. I wish I had. I made a mistake,” he told the Washington Post. “And I couldn’t, to be honest with you, because I had so much to do and so many losses financially to cover with the Caps and Wizards that it was impossible to envision the heavy lift of doing that.

"In hindsight, I wish I did."

Soon-Shiong is a South African/American transplant surgeon turned entrepreneur and philanthropist, worth an estimated $7.6 billion according to Forbes. Living in Los Angeles, it is possible that he will be a more familiar face around D.C. United than his predecessor, who lived primarily in Jakarta.

 

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