The Carolina Panthers are looking for new ownership and bidding for the franchise reached a record $2.5 billion, according to Bloomberg.
Fanatics owner Michael Rubin, who is one of the candidates in the running to buy the franchise, is currently not willing to go that high although he is willing to go higher than his initial bid, according to a report from ESPN.
Sean “Diddy” Combs and Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry, who were a part of Rubin’s group, were among potential minority partners with Rubin.
The Panthers are valued by Forbes at $2.3 billion and it’s still a wide open race as to who will end up winning the ownership bid for the Panthers. I would imagine some sports betting sites may eventually have some odds out.
The record for the sale of a professional sports franchise in the United States is the Houston Rockets, who were sold for $2.2 billion in 2017.
North Carolina, native James Goodnight, the co-founder and CEO of the software company SAS, has shown interest in purchasing the franchise although it is not clear if he has made of bid as of this writing.
Per ESPN, bids have been put in by Rubin; Bedrock Industries LP chairman and CEO Alan Kestenbaum; Charleston, South Carolina, billionaire Ben Navarro; and hedge-fund billionaire David Tepper.
Update as of April 9th, 2018.
According to the New York Times’ Ken Belson, Sherman Financial Group, represented by owner Ben Navarro, and Alan Kestenbaum, the chief executive of Bedrock industries, a company that owns and operates metal and mining companies, are among the bidders remaining to buy the Panthers.
According to Belson’s report, David Tepper, the minority owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers who was reportedly the favorite among the other owners to purchase the Panthers franchise, has backed out of the bidding process, leaving only Navarro and Kestenbaum left as those still in contention for ownership of the team.
Additionally, Navarro’s bid for the team was $2.6 billion, but it is unclear if other investors are getting involved to help pay that hefty price tag.
According to NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport, Tepper called several people recently to tell them personally that he was still in the process to purchasing the team.
The Panthers were put up for sale in December after a scandal, reported by Sports Illustrated, made light of workplace misconduct by team founder Jerry Richardson, prompting a league involved investigation into the matter.