05/15/2003 1:20 PM ET
Disney hails Major League Baseball approval of Moreno as new owner of Anaheim Angels
Arturo Moreno press conference: 56K | 300K
ANAHEIM, CA, May 15, 2003 -- The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS) applauded the announcement today that the Major League Baseball owners have approved the sale of Disney's Anaheim Angels to Arizona baseball aficionado and businessman Arturo "Arte" Moreno. The sale is expected to close next week.
Moreno, who divides his time between homes in Phoenix and Southern California, was an original investor in the Arizona Diamondbacks. In the mid-80's, he was among a group who owned the former Salt Lake City Trappers, a Class A Pioneer League team that won three championships and held a record of 29 consecutive wins.
Moreno is credited with transforming a small Phoenix-based company into the largest outdoor advertising company in North America -- including the United States, Canada and Mexico. In 1996, Outdoor Systems was the first outdoor advertising company to go public. In 1999, the agency was sold to Infinity/CBS.
"Our primary goal during the time we were privileged to own the Angels was to make sure the team remained as a viable, exciting part of the Anaheim community," said Michael D. Eisner, chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company.
"After taking such steps as the renaming the team after its home city, the dramatic improvements to Anaheim Stadium and, of course, the incredible achievement of becoming World Series champions, this goal has clearly been achieved. We are now delighted that under Arte's leadership, the team will continue to be a part of this remarkable city and, speaking personally as well as on behalf of our company, we will continue to be among the biggest fans of the Angels and of Anaheim," Eisner continued.
Under Disney's ownership, a renewed commitment to player development and international scouting enabled the Anaheim Angels to fortify an already solid farm system, plus win the World Series in 2002. In addition, several of the Angels' core players have been signed to long-term contracts.
"We wish Mike Scioscia and Bill Stoneman, the architects of the Angels' World Series victory, continued success with the 2003 season," said Eisner.
Disney purchased a 25% stake in the Angels from Gene and Jackie Autry in May 1996, and acquired the remaining interest in March 1999. During its tenure, Disney oversaw a renovation project that turned Edison International Field of Anaheim (formerly Anaheim Stadium), into one of the premier baseball parks in the country.