Nintendo of America today announced the planned sale of a majority of its interest in the Seattle Mariners to other members of the current ownership group. Under the plan, Nintendo of America will retain a 10% stake in the team, while the remainder of its holdings will be sold to other members of First Avenue Entertainment LLLP (FAE). FAE is the limited partnership that owns the Seattle Mariners, and a majority interest in ROOT Sports NW. Closing the transaction is subject to the finalization of legal contracts and approval from Major League Baseball which is expected in August of this year.
As part of the deal and at closing, current CEO Howard Lincoln will retire from day-to-day operations, and John Stanton will replace him as Chairman and CEO, and as the designated Major League Baseball Control Person. Lincoln will continue on as a member of the FAE Board of Directors, representing Nintendo’s ownership interests.
“From the first day of our involvement nearly 24 years ago, Nintendo has had two goals for its investment in the Mariners,” said Howard Lincoln. “First, we wanted to assure the permanence of the team in this great city. And on that count, I am proud and gratified that this agreement further solidifies that goal. On the other hand, I’m equally disappointed that we have not been able to host a World Series game for our fans.”
John Stanton said, “My goal and the goal of the entire Mariners ownership and management team is to win a World Series. I believe that the Mariners are well positioned to achieve that goal and it will be my honor to lead the organization. I want to thank Howard for his leadership for the last 17 years and thank the members of the board and ownership for giving me this opportunity.”
Specific details of the transaction will not be disclosed. A valuation of $1.4 billion for FAE’s holdings (team and RSN) was used as the basis for the sale. Nintendo of America, Howard Lincoln and John Stanton were principal participants in the negotiations.
FAE expects no organizational or personnel changes as a result of the transaction.