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Angels owner Moreno won't sell team: 'We have unfinished business'

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Arte Moreno has had a change of heart.

The longtime Los Angeles Angels owner announced Monday he has decided not to sell the team and will maintain ownership "throughout the 2023 season and beyond."

"During this process, it became clear that we have unfinished business and feel we can make a positive impact on the future of the team and the fan experience," Moreno said in a statement. "This offseason, we committed to a franchise-record player payroll and still want to accomplish our goal of bringing a World Series championship back to our fans. We are excited about this next chapter of Angels baseball."

The 76-year-old began exploring a potential sale this past August, with an ownership change expected at some point in 2023. Prospective buyers already visited Angel Stadium and were set to make their first bids in February, according to Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times.

"Despite strong buyer interest in the Angels, Arte Moreno's love of the game is most important to him," MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement obtained by Bob Nightengale of USA Today. "I am very pleased that the Moreno family has decided to continue owning the team."

Moreno bought the then-Anaheim Angels from the Walt Disney Company for $180 million in May 2003 on the heels of the club's first World Series title. Forbes estimated the team's worth at $2.2 billion last year, the ninth-highest franchise value in baseball.

The team enjoyed plenty of success in the first years of Moreno's tenure. The Angels claimed five AL West titles from 2004-09 and twice reached the American League Championship Series with star-studded rosters featuring future Hall of Famer Vladimir Guerrero, AL Cy Young winner Bartolo Colon, and All-Star Torii Hunter, among others.

But things haven't gone as smoothly during the second decade of Moreno's ownership. Despite rostering two generational talents in Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani and spending lavishly on stars such as Albert Pujols, Josh Hamilton, and Anthony Rendon, Los Angeles has made the playoffs just once since 2010. The Angels have only four winning seasons in that span.

The team's future in Anaheim has also grown uncertain in recent years. The city backed out of a deal with Moreno this past May after an FBI corruption investigation forced former Anaheim Mayor Harry Sidhu to resign, scuttling an agreement to develop the Angel Stadium site and renovate or replace the stadium.

The Halos' lease at Angel Stadium, their home since 1966, runs through 2029.

Golden State Warriors co-owner Joe Lacob confirmed his interest in buying the Angels during an interview with The Athletic's Tim Kawakami on Jan. 5. At least six parties were reportedly interested in bidding for the team, including Lacob, Los Angeles Times owner Patrick Soon-Shiong, and an unidentified Japanese group.

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