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Washington Commanders owner Dan Snyder hires firm to explore franchise sale

Bank of America asked to help ‘consider potential transactions’ for US$5.6bn valued NFL team.

3 November 2022 Josh Sim

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  • Snyder and Commanders under numerous investigations for workplace and financial misconduct
  • Amazon founder Jeff Bezos already linked as potential suitor

Washington Commanders co-owners Dan and Tanya Snyder have announced that Bank of America Securities has been hired to help ‘consider potential transactions’, including selling the National Football League (NFL) franchise.

The team’s statement said: ‘The Snyders remain committed to the team, all of its employees and its countless fans to putting the best product on the field and continuing the work to set the gold standard for workplaces in the NFL.’

It is not clear exactly what kind of transaction is the end goal at this stage, with either a full sale of the NFL franchise or offloading a minority stake a possibility. A Commanders spokesperson added that the team ‘was exploring all options’.

According to Forbes, Snyder has already received ‘at least four’ calls from interested parties. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, a figure perennially linked with investing in an NFL team and specifically the Commanders in 2019, has already been named as a leading takeover candidate.

Forbes recently valued the franchise at US$5.6 billion, ranking it as the sixth most valuable NFL team.

Snyder, who bought the Commanders in 1999 for US$800 million, has been under increasing pressure to sell the team. A 2021 probe had concluded that he had overseen a toxic workplace environment for more than a decade, with numerous sexual harassment incidents found to have been overlooked.

Snyder was fined US$10 million by the NFL, with former US attorney general Mary Jo White leading a Congressional investigation into both him and the team concerning the workplace misconduct claims.

Meanwhile, the Commanders are also presently being investigated for financial irregularities in both Washington DC and Virginia, which the team denies. This came after Congress sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) claiming Snyder and the Commanders may have been involved in ‘unlawful’ financial conduct.

On the same day as the Commanders’ statement announcing the hire of Bank of America, ESPN reported that the US attorney’s office in the Eastern District of Virginia are now launching another distinct criminal investigation into the team’s finances.

At the NFL’s annual fall league meeting, Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay recently told reporters that there was “merit” to removing Snyder as the Commanders’ owner, with 24 of the 32 team owners (75 per cent) needing to vote in favour of forcing him to sell. Now however, it looks as though he may be considering selling the franchise voluntarily.

Responding to the Commanders’ announcement, NFL spokesperson Brian McCarthy said: “Any potential transaction would have to be presented to the NFL Finance Committee for review and require an affirmative vote by three quarters of the full membership [24 of 32 teams].”

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