Report: Steelers minority owner now considered leading candidate to purchase Panthers

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<a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nfl/teams/pit" data-ylk="slk:Steelers">Steelers</a> minority owner David Tepper is reportedly now the leading candidate to purchase the <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nfl/teams/car" data-ylk="slk:Carolina Panthers">Carolina Panthers</a>. (Getty Images)
Steelers minority owner David Tepper is reportedly now the leading candidate to purchase the Carolina Panthers. (Getty Images)

Pittsburgh Steelers minority owner David Tepper is reportedly now the leading candidate to purchase the Carolina Panthers, ESPN’s David Newton reported on Thursday.

The Panthers were put up for sale after last season following sexual harassment and both sexual and racial misconduct allegations against owner Jerry Richardson. Tepper, who is the founder of Appaloosa Management, is one of two leading candidates to purchase the team.

Ben Navarro, the CEO of the Charleston, South Carolina-based Sherman Financial Group LLC, is the other — and has been the leading candidate until this week with an offer of $2.6 billion. Earlier this week, the Charlotte Observer reported that Navarro reached out to Peyton Manning to join his ownership group.

However, per ESPN’s report, Navarro learned over the past two days that “the process was not moving in his favor,” and that “there’s a reality he’s out of the process.”

An announcement could come as early as Monday or Tuesday, according to ESPN.

NBA star Steph Curry and music mogul Sean “Diddy” Combs were in talks to purchase the Panthers, however the pair are now reportedly out of the mix.

Once Richardson selects a winning bid, 75 percent of the NFL’s owners and the NFL finance committee must approve the sale before it goes through — which they hope to do at meetings in Atlanta later this month. According to Forbes, the Panthers are valued at $2.3 billion. Tepper is worth $11 billion.

The Houston Rockets were last sold for $2.2 billion in 2017, setting the record for an American sports franchise sale. Based on Forbes’ valuation of the franchise, it looks like the Panthers will break that record.

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