Fri, May 18, 2018 - Page 16 News List

Tepper agrees to buy Panthers for record US$2.2bn


Billionaire hedge fund manager David Tepper has reached an agreement to buy the Carolina Panthers for a reported US$2.2 billion, the highest amount ever paid for an NFL franchise, the team announced on Wednesday.

The Panthers said in a statement that Tepper, the founder and president of global hedge fund Appaloosa Management, had signed a definitive agreement to buy the team.

The deal will have to be approved by NFL owners at a meeting in Atlanta, Georgia, next week, but the sale is expected to be a formality.

The reported US$2.2 billion sale price is US$800 million more than the previous record figure for an NFL team, the US$1.4 billion raised in the sale of the Buffalo Bills in 2014.

Panthers owner Jerry Richardson in December last year announced that he was selling the team at the end of the season in a bombshell announcement that followed allegations of workplace misconduct.

A Sports Illustrated report said Richardson had paid off at least four women over allegations that included claims of sexual harassment and using a racial slur.

Tepper, 60, said he was looking forward to taking over the Panthers, one of the strongest sides in the National Football Conference who reached the Super Bowl in 2016.

“I am thrilled to have been selected to be the next owner of the Carolina Panthers,” Tepper said in a statement released by the team. “I have learned a great deal about the community and the team over the past several months, and look forward to becoming part of the Carolinas.”

“I want to thank Jerry Richardson and the other Panthers partners for all they have done to establish and develop the NFL in the Carolinas,” he said. “It has been a remarkable 25-year journey and I promise to build upon the Panthers’ success on the field and in the community.”

Tepper’s fortune has been estimated by Forbes at US$11 billion, meaning he is to become one of the wealthiest owners in the NFL once the sale is confirmed.

Richardson, a former NFL wide receiver turned fast-food restaurant tycoon who had owned the team since they were established in 1993 as an expansion franchise, said he was confident in handing off the Panthers to Tepper.

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