American billionaire, hedge fund manager and philanthropist David Tepper has reportedly agreed to acquire NFL team Carolina Panthers in a record $2.2 billion deal.
The deal and the announcement will be subject to a formal approval at NFL owners meeting next week in Atlanta.
Panthers founder Jerry Richardson had in December had announced his interest to sell the team. Richardson is facing an NFL investigation into sexual and racial misconduct in the workplace following a report by Sports Illustrated detailing his alleged misconduct.
The $2.2 billion deal will be the highest ever price paid for an NFL franchise and among the highest ever paid for a professional sports team around the world. The deal has overshadowed NFL’s earlier record by $800 million for the Pegula family’s deal to buy Buffalo Bills in 2014 upon the death of the founder and team owner Ralph Wilson.
However, the record NFL deal, as reported by news agency Associated Press, still falls short of the Ten Most Expensive Professional Sports Teams in the Forbes’ list for 2017.
Tepper, aged 60, was born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and is the founder and president of Appaloosa Management, a global hedge fund based in Miami Beach, Florida. He also owns a 5% stake in Pittsburgh Steelers which, according to league rules, will have to be transferred before the Panthers deal is approved.
Tepper, widely known for his philanthropy, had donated $55 million to Carnegie Mellon University’s business school in 2013. Tepper graduated from the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon, where the Tepper School of Business is named after him. Forbes has listed Tepper’s net worth in Feb 2017 at $11.4 billion.
Richardson was the first and only majority of the Panthers. He became only the first former player since George Halas to become an NFL owner when he was awarded an expansion franchise in 1993. Richardson promised fans at the time the Panthers would win a Super Bowl “within 10 years.” Carolina has reached the Super Bowl twice, including in 2015, but has never won.