Browns fetch over $1 billionHere’s one to make Cleveland fans shake their heads: A partial owner of the hated Pittsburgh Steelers is buying the Browns.
Here’s one to make Cleveland fans shake their heads: A partial owner of the hated Pittsburgh Steelers is buying the Browns.
Randy Lerner has reached a deal to sell the club to Tennessee truck-stop magnate Jimmy Haslam III — a minority stockholder in the rival Steelers.
Lerner will sell 70 percent of the Browns to Haslam now, with the other 30 percent reverting to him four years after the closing date, a person with knowledge of the sale told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because details have not officially been announced.
“This is a very exciting time for my family and me,” Haslam said through the team.
“To own such a storied franchise as the Cleveland Browns, with its rich tradition and history, is a dream come true. We are committed to keeping the team in Cleveland and seeing it get back to the elite of the NFL — something all Browns fans want and deserve.”
Haslam scheduled a news conference at Browns headquarters for Friday afternoon.
While the papers have been signed, the NFL still must approve the sale. Getting the nod from 24 of the 32 teams is required, and no date has been set for a vote because the sale has not been presented to the league yet. The person with knowledge of the sale said approval is expected by the end of September.
ESPN reported the sale price was more than $1 billion. For comparison, the Miami Dolphins sold at a value of more than $1 billion in 2009.
The Browns were valued at $977 million last year by Forbes magazine, 20th in the NFL.