PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies are planning the first significant addition to their ownership group since the Middleton family in 1994.
Sources told MLB.com that the Buck family plans to sell a third of its interest in the team to Stanley C. Middleman, a Philadelphia native and Temple University graduate who founded Freedom Mortgage, which is headquartered in Mt. Laurel, N.J. The Phillies hope to close the deal next month, which is pending necessary approvals by Major League Baseball.
Phillies fans should not notice any differences in the day-to-day operations of the team, once the deal is finalized, but broadening the club’s ownership with a new limited partner should strengthen its financial standing. John Middleton is the team’s managing partner, CEO and MLB control person. He will remain in charge of the club, including setting budgets and payroll, which this season is a franchise-record $240-million-plus.
Middleton owns 48.75% of the team, according to sources. The Buck family’s share will drop from 48.75% to 32.5%. Tri-Play, the Buck family’s limited partnership that holds its Phillies’ interest, will remain. Middleman’s share will be 16.25%. Pat Gillick (1.5%) and David Montgomery’s family (1%) make up the rest of the limited partnership, originally founded in 1981, when Ruly Carpenter sold the Phillies.
“This is a significant moment in our partnership’s history, as it is only the second time in over 40 years that we have added a new partner,” Middleton said in a statement. “As evidenced by the great success of Freedom Mortgage, Stan is driven to succeed. I admire his passion, commitment and perseverance in building his business. Those qualities, and many more, make Stan an important addition to our ownership group, and we are excited to welcome him to this organization.”
The Phillies had been talking about expanding the ownership group with a new limited partner since at least last summer. The Buck family expressed its intentions to reduce its interest in the club early last fall. Then, Phillies owner Bill Buck died in March, cementing those plans.
Coincidentally, Middleman had been looking for an ownership stake in a professional sports franchise, previously investigating opportunities with the Guardians and Nationals.
The Phillies started talking to Middleman, who grew up a Phillies fan, last summer.
“I’m delighted to be joining such a wonderful organization,” Middleman said in a statement. “It truly is a dream come true. Having grown up in Philadelphia, and spending my childhood as a huge Phillies fan, I feel truly blessed to have such an amazing opportunity in my lifetime. My family and I hope we can be a small part in the continuing success of this world-class sports organization.”