Update: NFL owners have two potential dates to vote on the sale:
NFL owners have been told to reserve July 20 and August 8 as dates for a possible special league meeting, sources said, a strong sign the league thinks it can get the Commanders deal to a final vote by one of those two days.— Ben Fischer (@BenFischerSBJ) June 13, 2023
The sale of the Washington Commanders is expected to be finalized before the team goes back to Ashburn, VA for training camp which starts on July 27th. Dan and Tanya Snyder completed a signed agreement with the Josh Harris group to sell the franchise for $6.05 billion on May 12th. Harris reportedly has 20 limited partners including local billionaire Mitchell Rales, and fellow sports franchise owner Earvin “Magic” Johnson. This deal will shatter the record for an NFL sale set by Rob Walton who purchased the Denver Broncos for $4.65 billion last year.
The NFL finance committee and the Josh Harris group have been working through issues that have been raised about the structure of the proposed deal. Every limited partner has to be vetted by the NFL, which has likely been completed at this point. The bigger issues that have been reported involved the NFL’s debt limit($1.1 billion), and their rules against private equity funds owning interests in teams.
Josh Harris and Mitchell Rales were in New York last Wednesday to meet with the NFL finance committee. The meeting was positive, and the sale was still expected to be finalized in the next “month to two months at the most,” per Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay. Harris reportedly agreed to replace the private equity that the committee felt was skirting the rules. Mike Ozanian from Forbes reports that “the private equity funds would not have directly owned equity, or loaned money to, the Commanders. The private equity financing for the $6.05 billion deal was to come from Arctos Sports Partners and and Ares Management. The Arctos loan was against Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment, according to two sources familiar with the negotiations and traded candor for anonymity. A spokesperson for HBSE would not comment.”
Ozanian said it was unclear how the group would replace the private equity financing, but brought up the report that Harris has been selling shares of Apollo Global Management, the private equity fund that he founded, on an almost daily basis for the last month as he gets more liquid to conform to the NFL’s rules. Harris has a net worth of $6.3 billion, but the group he is bidding with is reportedly worth over $100 billion. Harris is expected to own at least the NFL minimum of 30% of the team for a majority owner. He is currently a minority owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers, along with his(HSBE) majority ownership of the Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Devils.