Hedge fund manager David Tepper has officially been named the new owner of the Carolina Panthers, according to a statement from the team.
Tepper, 60, is the founder of the Miami-based hedge fund management firm Appaloosa Management. According to Forbes, he is worth an estimated $11 billion – making him the wealthiest of the bidders. Tepper has also been a partial owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers since 2009.
Multiple reports say Tepper will pay $2.2 billion in cash for the Panthers franchise, surpassing the record $1.4 billion purchase of the Buffalo Bills in 2014. Former owner Jerry Richardson put the team up for sale at the end of last year following allegations of sexual harassment and racial misconduct.
The NFL's investigation into the team is ongoing.
“I am thrilled to have been selected to be the next owner of the Carolina Panthers," Tepper said in a statement. "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.”
Tepper bested a group of bidders that included Charleston-based financial advisor Ben Navarro, Fanatics owner Michael Ruben and Bedrock Industries Chairman Alan Kestenbaum. The deal is subject to approval by the NFL.
Navarro said in a written statement Tuesday that he was grateful to have been considered one of the bidders of the Panthers, according to the Charleston Post and Courier.
"It would have been a privilege to become the stewards of this iconic franchise to ensure its home remains in the Carolinas where it belongs, to establish a new era of leadership and excellence on and off the field, and to leverage the team’s NFL platform to further our quest to help all children gain access to a great education" Navarro wrote.
In a statement, Richardson expressed his gratitude over the sale and the support of the team he founded.
"Bringing the Panthers and the NFL to the Carolinas in 1993 was enormously fulfilling for Rosalind and me and all of our partners,” Richardson said. “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," Richardson continued. "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.”
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