Hedge fund manager David Tepper has agreed to buy the Carolina Panthers for a National Football League (NFL)-record US$2.2 billion, according to the Associated Press.
The international news agency, citing people familiar with the situation, reports that team founder Jerry Richardson has agreed to the sale, with the deal subject to a routine vote at the NFL owners’ meeting next week in Atlanta.
The price would be the highest ever paid for an NFL franchise, eclipsing the US$1.4 billion the Pegula family paid to purchase the Buffalo Bills in 2014.
Tepper, 60, is a part owner of his hometown Pittsburgh Steelers, as well as founder and president of Appaloosa Management, a global hedge fund based in Miami.
Because of Tepper’s five per cent stake in the Steelers, his finances have already been vetted by the league, meaning minimal obstacles remain to securing NFL-owner approval of the sale. However, Tepper would have to sell his minority ownership stake of the American Football Conference North franchise, per league rules.
Forbes listed Tepper's net worth at US$11.4 billion in February of 2017.
Richardson has been the only majority of the Panthers. He became only the first former player since George Halas to own an NFL team when he was awarded an expansion franchise in 1993. Carolina have twice reached the Super Bowl, most recently in 2015, but have never won.
Richardson announced in December he was selling the team amid an NFL investigation - still ongoing – into sexual and racial misconduct in the workplace following an explosive report by Sports Illustrated detailing the owner’s alleged behaviour.