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MLB approves Seattle Mariners sale

The sale of a controlling stake in the Seattle Mariners to a consortium led by Western Wireless founder John Stanton and retired Microsoft executive Chris Larson has been approved by North America’s Major League Baseball owners.

The owners rubber-stamped the deal, which was first announced in April, during a meeting yesterday (Thursday). A formal announcement is anticipated either today or on Monday, according to MLB commissioner Rob Manfred.

The franchise is being sold by Nintendo of America and will become the first MLB club to change hands since Ron Fowler led the acquisition of the San Diego Padres in August 2012.

Nintendo bought the Mariners from Jeff Smulyan in 1992 and oversaw the move of the franchise from the Kingdome to Safeco Field in 1999.

Stanton, who will head up the franchise, said in April that the ownership group would include 17 investors, with no majority owner.

“There’s not a soul, other than the people retiring, that will be impacted, because all of these same partners are still involved,” Mariners chairman emeritus John Ellis said. “Having the same group rearranging its percentages, John Stanton taking over, the Japanese backing down to 10 percent, is the transition that guarantees to the team for the future,” said Ellis, who will stay on as a director.

Nintendo is offloading all but 10 per cent of its stake in the franchise and the regional sports broadcaster, Root Sports.