NFL finds no major issues with Josh Harris’ terms; other obstacles remain

The NFL’s informal review of Josh Harris’ $6.05 billion tentative deal to buy the Washington Commanders revealed only minor issues for Harris’ group to address, leaving the owners of the league and team confident the deal would go through if other sale-related hurdles can be overcome, a person with direct knowledge of the NFL’s inner workings said Tuesday.

According to this person, there are “little holes” in Harris’ unsigned, non-exclusive deal with Commanders owner Daniel Snyder that Harris and his investment group can fix relatively easily. The terms of that deal have been submitted to the NFL for preliminary review that is not part of the league’s formal ratification process for the sale, which requires the approval of at least 24 of the 32 team owners.

Harris’ purchase of Commanders will almost certainly be ratified, the person said, if the deal is properly amended and issues surrounding compensation and the NFL’s second investigation into Snyder and the team can be resolved. to the satisfaction of other owners.

“The league is doing its job,” said this person. “That’s normal. They’re little holes (in the Harris deal). They’ll take care of that part. … It won’t be a problem. The problem is those other things.

The NFL, Harris’ group and commanders declined to comment on Tuesday.

Terms of Josh Harris commanders’ deal sent to NFL for informal review

The sale price of $6.05 billion would set a record for an NFL franchise. The current mark matches the $4.65 billion a group led by Walmart heir Rob Walton paid last year to buy the Denver Broncos from the Pat Bowlen Trust. Harris had made an offer to buy the Broncos.

Harris is the owner of the Philadelphia 76ers of the NBA and the New Jersey Devils of the NHL. He is also a limited partner of the NFL’s Pittsburgh Steelers and is expected to sell that stake to buy the Commanders. Harris’ investment group includes Potomac, Maryland, businessman and philanthropist Mitchell Rales and NBA great Magic Johnson.

The Josh Harris Group has reached a tentative deal to buy Commanders from Daniel Snyder

NFL rules require the lead investor in an ownership group to have at least a 30% stake in the purchase. No ownership group can exceed 25 people, and the group cannot borrow more than $1.1 billion to buy the team. No private equity firm, public company or sovereign wealth fund can hold shares.

According to the person with knowledge of the inner workings of the NFL, the Harris Group’s preliminary deal is not a small portion of funding, potentially putting the offer slightly above the debt limit. But the person noted that the deal was not finalized or signed and said, “They can clean this up. I don’t think he’s been asked to do that yet.

Since Harris’ deal with Snyder is not exclusive, it does not preclude other bidders from attempting to buy the team. At least one competing bidder, Canadian property developer and private equity executive Steve Apostolopoulos, remains active in the bidding process, a person with knowledge of the sales process said in recent days.

The latest NFL investigation into Snyder and the commanders is led by attorney Mary Jo White. Snyder declined to be interviewed by White, three people with direct knowledge of the league’s inner workings said last month. White needed to make at least one more attempt before completing his investigation, according to one of those people. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said the league would release White’s findings even if Snyder sells the team.

It is unclear to what extent the Harris Group is willing to indemnify Snyder against legal liability and costs under the interim purchase agreement. Since late February, multiple people with direct knowledge of the league’s inner workings have said Snyder was seeking compensation from a buyer or the league and other owners. Commanders said in February that these depictions were inaccurate.

In order for the sale to be completed and ratified, the other owners will want Snyder to abandon all efforts to be indemnified by them, and further to indemnify the league and the other owners against legal liability and future costs, the person knowing the inside of the NFL Works and Views Owners said Tuesday.

Issues with compensation and White’s investigation make the expected timeline for approval of the sale uncertain, the person said. The next owners meeting is scheduled for May 22-24 in Minneapolis. They are not expected to meet after that until October, although Goodell may schedule a special meeting around August to resolve the issue. The owners approved the sale of the Broncos at a special meeting last August.

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