HomeSportsNFLReport: There may be hold up in Washington Commanders sale

Report: There may be hold up in Washington Commanders sale

by Suzanne Halliburton
washington commanders helmets
Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

The NFL might be having some reservations about how quickly the league approves the sale of the Commanders. Potential new owner Josh Harris may have too many limited partners to buy the team.

This is all according to the Washington Post, which reported late Wednesday that the league now is concerned about whether owners can approve the Commanders sale in two weeks at the NFL meetings in Minneapolis.

The NFL owners’ finance committee is vetting the Harris bid, which is $6.05 billion. And the Post reported that the committee probably needs more time studying the financial details of the bid.

“Everyone wants it to get done,” an unidentified source told the Post. “I’m not saying it can’t get done. I don’t know. We’ll have to see.”

The sale all seemed on track last month, when Harris and his investors group emerged with the top bid for the team owned by Dan Snyder. The NFL began pushing the controversial Snyder, who has owned the team since 1999, to sell the team. Harris is a billionare who made his money with Apollo Global Management, a private equity investment firm. He’s also the owner of the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers and the New Jersey Devils in the NHL. Plus, Harris is a minority investor with the Steelers. He’d have to sell his stake of $140 million if the owners approve his purchase of the Commanders.

Josh Harris, standing, owns the Philadelphia 76ers. He also wants to buy the Washington Commanders. (Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

Roger Goodell’s mid-May timeline for Commanders sale might be reworked

Commissioner Roger Goodell gave an update on the Commanders sale late last month at the NFL Draft in Kansas City. He said the sale could be announced by “probably by the middle of May or late May.” Again, that hinged on activity at the league meetings.

Commanders coach Ron Rivera also indicated he’d mentally moved on from Snyder.

“It really seemed like a load was lifted, because everybody was on pins and needles for the last couple of months,” Rivera told USA Today about the Commanders sale. “You kind of wondered what was going to happen.”

Circling back to the latest details, a source told the Post that the vetting process probably won’t be finished by the Minneapolis meeting. The finance committee began work on vetting the ownership group Wednesday. However, it could be possible for the owners to reach a tentative approval of the Commanders sale with certain conditions.

Harris is involving several limited partners to buy the Commanders. The Post said several were identified last week. They included Eric Schmidt, the former Google CEO; Alejandro Santo Domingo, an heir to a family beer fortune, and Mitchell Morgan, the founder/CEO of Morgan Properties in Pennsylvania. Mitchell Rales, a billionaire who grew up in the D.C. area, already played a major role in the ownership group. Plus, Harris added Magic Johnson, the NBA legend turned businessman.

NFL rules state that the lead investor must own at least a 30 percent equity stake in the team. There can’t be more than 25 people in the ownership group. And no group can borrow more than $1.1 billion to buy the team. The NFL won’t allow private equity firms, public corporations or sovereign wealth funds to own any part of the team.