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Hedge Fund Manager David Tepper Reportedly 'Strong' Candidate to Buy Panthers

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistFebruary 20, 2018

PITTSBURGH, PA - DECEMBER 21:  David Tepper, president of Appaloosa Management and a minority owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers, looks on from the sideline before a game between the Steelers and the Kansas City Chiefs at Heinz Field on December 21, 2014 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  The Steelers defeated the Chiefs 20-12. (Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images)
George Gojkovich/Getty Images

Hedge fund manager David Tepper is reportedly serious about purchasing the Carolina Panthers as a majority team owner.

According to Austin Knoblauch of NFL.com, a high-ranking team executive told NFL Network's Mike Garafolo the billionaire is a "strong contender" to buy the Panthers, while another source deemed Tepper the "leader in the clubhouse" when speaking to Garafolo. 

Tepper founded the global hedge fund firm Appaloosa Management and owns a 5 percent stake in the Pittsburgh Steelers. He would have to sell those shares were he to become the majority owner of the Panthers.

While Tepper has emerged as a front-runner, Knoblauch noted the NFL still has to approve a candidate and three-fourths of the league's owners have to approve the eventual sale.

This comes after Jerry Richardson announced in December he was putting the Panthers up for sale amid an investigation into his workplace behavior.

The Panthers announced Tina Becker took over the day-to-day management of the team in the aftermath, and Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reported the league was still going to investigate Richardson even though he was selling.

In December, L. Jon Wertheim and Viv Bernstein of Sports Illustrated detailed the allegations against Richardson, including that "at least four former Panthers employees have received 'significant' monetary settlements due to inappropriate workplace comments and conduct by owner Jerry Richardson, including sexually suggestive language and behavior, and on at least one occasion directing a racial slur at an African-American Panthers scout."

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On the field, Carolina finished the 2017 campaign with an 11-5 record and made the playoffs for the fourth time in five years.

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