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Sale of Angels to Moreno approved

May 15, 2003 at 2:40 PM   |   Comments

NEW YORK, May 15 (UPI) -- Arturo Moreno became the first Latino owner of a major league team Thursday when MLB owners approved his purchase of the World Series champion Anaheim Angels.

In mid-April, Moreno agreed to buy the team from the Walt Disney Co. for a reported $180 million. The sale was confirmed by owners at their joint quarterly meeting.

Moreno is a 56-year-old Mexican-American who was born in Arizona. An original investor in the Arizona Diamondbacks, Moreno is a sign of the commitment of Commissioner Bud Selig to diversity.

"This is just the next step, an important one in the continuum, and a first step in increasing minority ownership over time," said Bob DuPuy, the President and CEO of Major League Baseball. "It's a great thing."

Moreno, who needed 75 percent of the votes, follows in the footsteps of Japanese-born Hiroshi Yamauchi, who purchased majority interest of the Seattle Mariners in 1992.

According to Forbes magazine, Moreno has a net value of $940 million, a fortune made in the billboard industry. He and his former partners sold the advertising company, Outdoor Systems Inc., to Infinity Broadcasting Corp. in 1999 for more than $8 billion.

Moreno, a Vietnam veteran, also owns a stake in the NBA's Phoenix Suns.

Disney bought 25 percent of the team in 1996 and the remaining 75 percent from the estate of Gene Autry in 1998 after the original owner died. The entertainment giant spent $100 million to help refurbish what is now Edison International Field.

Last year, the Angels won the first World Series title in the 41-year history of the franchise.

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