Report: Jerry Richardson's Sale of Panthers to David Tepper Could Happen Tuesday

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistMay 15, 2018

FILE - Int his May 10, 2016, file photo, billionaire hedge fund manager David Tepper mingles during a grand opening of rock star and philanthropist Jon Bon Jovi's Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation Soul Kitchen and B.E.A.T. Center, which stands for Bringing Everyone All Together, in Toms River, N.J. People familiar with the situation say Tepper has agreed to buy the Carolina Panthers from team founder Jerry Richardson for a record $2.2 billion. The people spoke to The Associated Press on Tuesday, May 15, 2018, on condition of anonymity because the team has not yet announced the sale. The purchase is subject to a vote at the NFL owners meeting next week in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Mel Evans, File)
Mel Evans/Associated Press

It may only be a matter of time before the Carolina Panthers switch ownership.

According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, Jerry Richardson's sale of the franchise to hedge fund manager David Tepper could be completed on Tuesday. A vote would then take place at the NFL's spring league meeting in Atlanta next week.

Any potential deal would need to be approved by both the NFL financial committee and 24 of the 32 owners.

Katie Peralta of the Charlotte Observer reported Tepper is expected to sign a deal to buy the franchise for $2.2 billion. Last year, Forbes valued the Carolina franchise at $2.3 billion, making it the 21st most valuable in the league.

Rapoport reported Tepper "does not plan on making any major changes" and will likely make stadium enhancements.

The last NFL team sold—the Buffalo Bills—went for "at least" an NFL-record-tying $1.1 billion in 2014, according to Chris Isidore of CNN Money.

The 81-year-old Richardson put the team up for sale in December following allegations of misconduct. According to Sports Illustrated's L. Jon Wertheim and Viv Bernstein, the Panthers owner paid out settlements to at least four employees. The accusations included "sexually suggestive language and behavior" and, in at least one case, racism.

When the allegations came to light, Richardson issued a statement revealing that it was time for him to step aside from the team:

"I believe that it is time to turn the franchise over to new ownership. Therefore, I will put the team up for sale at the conclusion of this NFL season. We will not begin the sale process, nor will we entertain any inquiries, until the very last game is played. I hope everyone in this organization, both on and off the field, will be firmly focused on just one mission: to play and win the Super Bowl."

Richardson has owned the team ever since its inception back in 1995.

Tepper, meanwhile, has been a minority owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers since 2009. Per Forbes, the 60-year-old has a net worth of $11 billion. ESPN's David Newton noted that Tepper—who would have to sell his stake in the Steelers—has already been cleared by the league's vetting process as a result of his previous investment.

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