CINCINNATI (AP) _ Carl Lindner agreed Wednesday to sell the controlling interest in the Cincinnati Reds to a group of area businessmen, keeping baseball's first professional franchise in local hands.

The group is headed by Robert Castellini, chairman of a Cincinnati-based produce company, and relatives of a family that owned the team from 1966-84.

The family sold control of the team to Marge Schott in the 1980s, setting up one of the club's most turbulent periods. The Reds won a World Series in 1990 but were tainted by her repeated offensive remarks.

Under pressure from Major League Baseball, Schott sold her controlling shares in the team for $67 million to a group led by Lindner in 1999. The latest sale was set in motion last March, when three limited partners who owned 51.5 percent of the team's shares indicated they wanted to sell.

Lindner said at the time that he intended to retain control of the team, which hasn't had a winning season since it moved into Great American Ball Park in 2003.

The purchase price sets the value of the franchise at approximately $270 million. The sale must be approved by baseball owners before it can be finalized.