Panthers Agree to Sell Team to David Tepper for Reported $2.2-2.3 Billion

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistMay 16, 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

The Carolina Panthers announced Wednesday that an agreement has been reached to sell the franchise to Appaloosa Management hedge fund founder David Tepper.

According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, Tepper will purchase the team for a sum between $2.2 billion and $2.3 billion, and NFL owners are expected to approve the sale in Atlanta later this month.

That will make the Panthers the most lucrative sale in NFL history surpassing the previous mark of $1.1 billion, which is what Terry and Kim Pegula paid to buy the Buffalo Bills in 2014.

Tepper will be the second owner in Panthers history, as Jerry Richardson founded the franchise and owned it since it began play in 1995.

Richardson released the following statement regarding the sale:

"Bringing the Panthers and the NFL to the Carolinas in 1993 was enormously fulfilling for Rosalind and me and all of our partners. We are deeply grateful for the outpouring of support over the last 25 years. You have taken the Panthers into your hearts and made them part of this warm and supportive community. We want to thank all of our past and present players, coaches and staff for their hard work in making the Panthers a great success both on the field and in the community. The personal relationships we have enjoyed have been very meaningful to us.

"I look forward to turning the stewardship of the Panthers over to David Tepper. I have enjoyed getting to know him in this process and am confident that he will provide the organization with great leadership in both its football and community initiatives. I wish David and his family the very best as they enter this exciting new phase of their lives."

Richardson announced in December he would sell the team amid allegations of workplace misconduct.

Tepper expressed excitement over the impending sale, saying:

"I am thrilled to have been selected to be the next owner of the Carolina Panthers. 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. It has been a remarkable 25-year journey and I promise to build upon the Panthers' success on the field and in the community."

The 60-year-old Tepper is no stranger to NFL ownership, as he has been a minority owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers since 2009.

Tepper is taking over a franchise with an all-time regular-season record of 183-184-1.

The Panthers have reached the playoffs eight times in their history, and they have twice gone to the Super Bowl before losing each time.

With four playoff appearances over the past five seasons, Carolina is in the midst of its most successful stretch.

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