The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Nationals’ next step toward a potential sale: Making financial details available

The owners of the Washington Nationals expect to have their financial information ready this week. (Katherine Frey/The Washington Post)
Placeholder while article actions load

The Washington Nationals expect to have their financial information available for potential buyers this week, the latest step in the Lerner family’s exploration of a sale of the club, two people familiar with the process said Monday.

Would-be buyers who are preapproved by Major League Baseball will be able to access a “data room” that contains all of the club’s financials. That will include, but not be limited to, items such as existing sponsorship deals, deferred compensation owed in player contracts and revenue from media rights deals and other sources. It essentially will let any interested parties know exactly what they would be buying.

Amid Nats’ reboot, Mike Rizzo and Dave Martinez are in last guaranteed year

That information becoming available is a logistical milepost but does not provide any additional data as to how many potential suitors there might be or when the process might end, according to one of the people familiar with the negotiations. MLB has performed background checks on some of the interested groups but still has others in line, the person said.

On April 11, Mark Lerner, the son of real estate magnate Ted Lerner and the team’s managing principal owner, told The Post in a statement that his family was exploring changes in the ownership structure of the franchise it bought in 2006. The options include selling the team outright, and the family enlisted New York-based investment bank Allen & Company to help broker a deal.

Since then, some people close to the Lerner family have said they believe Mark Lerner wanted to wrap up a sale quickly. But one person close to the process cautioned Monday, “This is more a marathon than a sprint.”

The Nationals have several pressing issues. On the field, they are in the beginning stages of a rebuilding process and sit in last place in the National League East, owning the second-worst record in baseball.

The Lerners are also faced with a decision on whether to exercise options on the contracts of General Manager Mike Rizzo and Manager Dave Martinez for the 2023 season — even if the family might not own the club when that season is played. Plus, there is the contract status of star outfielder Juan Soto, who is under club control through 2024 but would become a free agent thereafter should the Nationals not sign him to an extension.