Dan and Tanya Snyder agreed Friday to sell the Washington Commanders to an investment group led by Josh Harris, leaving the NFL to sign off on a $6 billion sale.
The two sides reached a tentative agreement a month ago, but the non-exclusive deal gave Snyder the ability to continue to seek other bidders, or walk away.
On Friday, Harris and his team said they had entered into a purchase and sale agreement that, if approved by the NFL’s finance committee and at least three-quarters of the league’s other 31 team owners, would set a record price for the sports franchise.
“We are very pleased to have reached an agreement with Josh Harris, an area native, and his impressive partners to sell the Commanders franchise,” Tanya and Dan Snyder said in a joint statement. “We look forward to closing this transaction quickly and rooting for Josh and the team for years to come.”
In a statement on behalf of his franchise team, which includes Magic Johnson, Harris said, “We look forward to the formal endorsement of our franchise in the coming months by the NFL and serving as responsible and accountable stewards. Commanders franchise moves forward.
The announcement came two days after the league’s finance committee met in New York to evaluate the terms of the deal. The NFL’s entire board of owners could be briefed on the proposed deal when it meets in Minneapolis on May 22 and 23 and votes on the deal in the coming months.
“The league staff and finance committee will review the details of the proposed Washington transaction,” league spokesman Brian McCarthy said in a statement.
But no approval was given.
Members of the finance committee that reviewed the proposed deal on Wednesday expressed concern that the Harris bid exceeded the league’s debt limits, according to two people who attended the meeting.
According to NFL rules, teams can’t have more than $1.1 billion in debt on buyouts. The Harris group agreed to pay $6 billion, $1.4 billion more than the previous record of $4.65 billion last year when the Walton-Benner families amassed their wealth through their stake in Walmart.
Harris was required to waive the league’s financial rules if he exceeded the debt limit included in the team’s contract. They can also change the structure of the arrangement.
In recent weeks, the Snyders sought protection from a major league investigation led by Mary Jo White, hired by the NFL to investigate allegations of financial misconduct and sexual harassment at the club. The NFL did not announce a timeframe for the release of that statement.
But Harris has not agreed to shield Snyders from any league penalties that could arise as a result of the NFL’s investigation into sexual harassment allegations, a person with knowledge of the agreement was not authorized to speak publicly about its details. The league did not agree to compensate Snyder, according to another person familiar with the deal.
Prosecutors in the District of Columbia and Virginia also have open hearings on the panel.
If the sale is approved, Harris’ team could soon develop FedEx Field, which opened in 1997. The pipe is suffering from leakage and others Structural failures, or build a new stadium in the Washington area. Either option would require billions of dollars in additional funding.
Harris, who already owns the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers, the NHL’s New Jersey Devils and a part of the English Premier League’s Crystal Palace, has brought together even bigger investors to buy the Commanders, which are highly valued. Three other clubs also joined.
His team includes Johnson, NBA Hall of Famer and co-owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers; David Blitzer, Head of Strategic Opportunities, Blackstone; Washington-area real estate investor Mitchell Rales; Eric Schmidt, former CEO of Google.