MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - The St. Louis Cardinals agreed to sell a majority interest in the Memphis Redbirds to Peter B. Freund.
Pending approval of the Pacific Coast League, Freund, the principal owner of Trinity Baseball Holdings, will take control on April 1, 2016.
"While we were not actively looking to sell a stake in the team, after meeting Peter we immediately knew that partnering with him would strengthen the Memphis Redbirds and be a win for everyone involved," said Bill DeWitt Jr., Chairman and CEO of the St. Louis Cardinals. "To have someone of Peter's caliber and track record of success in minor league baseball willing to make this investment further solidifies the revitalization of this flagship franchise and baseball in Memphis."
Two years ago, the Cardinals bought the Redbirds after entering an arrangement with the city of Memphis for upgrades to AutoZone Park. The city also took ownership of the ballpark.
"I immediately fell in love with the city of Memphis and the Redbirds the moment I stepped foot in AutoZone Park and met the leadership team," said Freund. "I am thrilled to join the St. Louis Cardinals in partnership to ensure the Memphis Redbirds remain the premier Triple-A franchise in all of minor league baseball."
Financial terms of the sale have not been released, but DeWitt said the Cardinals will keep a minority stake in the Redbirds and the team will remain the Cardinals' Triple-A affiliate.
Craig Unger, current general manager of the Redbirds, will be promoted to president in addition to his current role.
"Craig's leadership of this franchise over the last two years has been exemplary," said Freund. "I look forward to working with Craig and his staff to continue building on what has already been accomplished in a relatively short period of time."
The Cardinals said the sale of the controlling interest of the team will enhance the financial foundation of the team while strengthening the daily management of the club.
Freund is also a minority owner of the New York Yankees, principal owner The Philadelphia Phillies' Class-A affiliate Williamsport Crosscutters and a co-owner of the Yankees' Class-A affiliate Charleston RiverDogs.
Mayor Jim Strickland released a statement on the new ownership: