The pending Washington Commanders sale to Josh Harris is making "progress," according to Indianapolis Colts team owner Jim Irsay, and could be completed as soon as July.
Irsay spoke with ESPN about the proposed sale after a Wednesday meeting between Harris and the NFL's finance committee, which Irsay sits on. Harris' business partner, Mitchell Rales, also sat in on the meeting with the eight-member committee.
"We're not done yet," Irsay told ESPN. "But we're making progress. ... It was a good meeting."
Meanwhile, a source classified the nearly 2 1/2 hour meeting as "positive" while speaking with the Washington Post. Per the Post, Harris committed to requested adjustments to his bid during the meeting. If the finance committee approves the sale, it will then go to NFL ownership, where ratification by 24 of the league's 32 owners would finalize the sale.
Wednesday's update arrives on the heels of a May 10 report by the Washington Post that owners had reservations about the pending sale because of the "unusually large number of limited partners" involved in Harris' bid.
NFL rules prohibit ownership groups from exceeding 25 partners. The league also doesn't consider institutional and private equity assets as part of a bid. The Athletic reported in May that Harris' group claims to be limited to 17 partners. Vetting those partners is reportedly part of the NFL's ongoing evaluation process. The NFL also prohibits the group from taking on more than $1.1 billion in debt in the deal.
Harris is a private equity investor and majority owner of the NHL’s New Jersey Devils and NBA's Philadelphia 76ers. He reached a preliminary agreement with longtime Commanders owner Dan Snyder on April 13 to buy the team for $6.05 billion.
At the time, the agreement wasn't exclusive, meaning Snyder could continue to negotiate with other bidders. Snyder has since signed an exclusive deal with Harris and his group, closing the process to other suitors while the NFL evaluate's Harris bid.
Irsay spoke optimistically Wednesday about Harris' group and the sale being approved.
"It's going well," Irsay said. "I'm hopeful because of their inspired aspect and their enthusiasm and their track record that they're really committing, saying, 'Well if that doesn't work then I'll make it right. Either way, we're going to make it right.'
"So we're just trying to work through those final details. And I'm hopeful that we'll be able to. I would imagine something in mid-to-late July would be the earliest we'd call a league meeting."
NFL owners are next scheduled to meet in October. They could call a special meeting to ratify the sale prior to the fall.
(Disclosure: Josh Harris is a co-founder of Apollo Global Management, which owns Yahoo, Inc. He left the private equity firm in 2022.)