Bank hired by Daniel Snyder moves forward on sale process for Commanders


IRVING, Tex. — The investment bank hired by Washington Commanders owner Daniel Snyder is moving forward with the process for him to consider offers to purchase all or part of his franchise. Bank of America is poised to send what amounts to a prospectus for the team to qualified potential buyers who agree to the required confidentiality provisions, according to two people with knowledge of the process.

While those materials probably will not specify whether Snyder intends to sell the entire franchise or a portion of it, four people familiar with the process said they believe a full sale is the most likely outcome. All spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the level of secrecy surrounding the deliberations.

One person expressed the belief that it is no longer feasible for Snyder to inform fellow NFL owners that he plans to keep control of the team and sell only a minority share. Any sale, whether it involves the entire team or a portion of it, must be approved by at least three-quarters of the other NFL team owners.

Those owners conducted their quarterly meeting Wednesday at a Dallas-area hotel. Snyder was not in attendance. Tanya Snyder, his wife and the Commanders’ co-CEO, and team president Jason Wright represented the team. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said after the meeting he does not know whether Daniel Snyder will sell the Commanders entirely.

“I don’t have any expectations on that,” Goodell said at a news conference. “Dan’s statement that he put out said he was exploring that. And we will continue to work with him on that.”

Spokespeople for the Commanders and Bank of America declined to comment on the status of the potential sale. The team said later in response to comments by Goodell and owners that it was “focused on football” and its game Sunday night against the New York Giants.

“If the team hypothetically, hypothetically, were sold 100 percent, that would resolve things,” Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay said, speaking to reporters as he sat in a golf cart outside the hotel following the meeting. “But I don’t know where that is [stands] now.”

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Irsay said there “really wasn’t much of a conversation” among owners Wednesday about Snyder and the Commanders, “just an update” by NFL officials.

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said as he exited that he didn’t want to speak publicly about what the owners discussed. Jones said he “had a good visit” with Tanya Snyder.

The Commanders announced last month that the Snyders had hired BofA Securities, a division of Bank America, to consider potential transactions related to the franchise.

“I think … that’s certainly a better solution, if that came to that,” Irsay said of a potential sale. “I know Dan is looking at … a sale. But I don’t know anything about it, if it’s a minority interest or a majority interest or something like that.”

Forbes estimated in August that the Commanders are worth $5.6 billion. The record sale price for an NFL franchise is the $4.65 billion a group led by Walmart heir Rob Walton paid this year for the Denver Broncos. The other NFL owners officially ratified that transaction in August.

In 1999, Daniel Snyder led a group of investors that purchased the team and its stadium for $800 million from the Jack Kent Cooke estate. In March 2021, Snyder bought out his three limited partners — Dwight Schar, Fred Smith and Robert Rothman, who collectively owned about 40 percent of the franchise — for $875 million. That transaction required the other NFL owners to grant Snyder a waiver to take on an additional $450 million in debt, which he must repay by 2028 if he remains owner.

Several people with knowledge of NFL transactions have said Snyder will face difficulty finding an investor willing to pay $1 billion to $2 billion to be his junior business partner unless the deal guarantees an opportunity to “buy him out” and become the full or principal owner at at future dates.

Irsay said in October that he and fellow NFL team owners should give serious consideration to voting to remove Snyder from ownership of the Commanders. Doing so would require a vote of at least three-quarters of the owners. Multiple owners told The Washington Post in September they believed serious consideration would be given to attempting to oust Snyder from the league’s ownership ranks, either by convincing him to sell his franchise or by voting to remove him.

Irsay said Wednesday that his position “hasn’t changed” and he would “need more information” to actually cast a vote to remove Snyder.

“I’m not ready to vote him out,” Irsay said. “I need to hear more. … I’d want to hear all my partners, and I’d probably want to hear from Dan first. … It’s a big deal when that sort of thing happens. I don’t know if we’ve ever done it as a league. … As an owner, you’re looking to get the exact details, and I haven’t gotten those yet.”

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is interested in bidding for the Commanders, a person familiar with the situation has said, and his bid might include music mogul Jay-Z as an investor. Bezos owns The Washington Post. Other potential buyers include those who tried but failed to purchase the Broncos, a person familiar with the NFL’s inner workings has said. That includes Mat Ishbia, the president and CEO of United Wholesale Mortgage, and media entrepreneur Byron Allen.

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Other bidders for the Broncos who are expected to be in the running for the Commanders include Clearlake Capital co-founders Behdad Eghbali and Jose E. Feliciano, who previously attempted to purchase a minority stake in the Commanders from Snyder’s former limited partners; Josh Harris, the co-founder of Apollo Global Management and the owner of the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers and the NHL’s New Jersey Devils; and Todd L. Boehly, the CEO of Eldridge Industries, the chairman of the Chelsea Football Club and a part-owner of MLB’s Los Angeles Dodgers, the NBA’s Los Angeles Lakers and the WNBA’s Los Angeles Sparks.

Some prospective bidders believe if Bezos is intent on buying the team, his vast net worth would enable him to outbid other contenders, people with ties to the process have said. Bezos has declined to comment on his interest in the Commanders.

Snyder and the Commanders are the subjects of a second investigation by the NFL, this one led by attorney Mary Jo White. Goodell said Wednesday that White “has not been given a timeline” by the league to complete the investigation.

The House Committee on Oversight and Reform wrote last week in its final report on its Democratic-led investigation of the team’s workplace that Snyder gave evasive and “misleading” testimony to the committee in July. The report said Snyder “obstructed” the committee’s investigation and that he “permitted and participated” in the “troubling conduct” in the team’s workplace.

Goodell said Wednesday that the NFL “fully cooperated” with the committee’s investigation. He also said that a “change has occurred in the Washington Commanders organization. That’s verified by audit. So that’s the outcome that we were seeking.”

The office of DC Attorney General Karl A. Racine (D) filed two civil lawsuits against the Commanders. Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh (D) fined the team $250,000 for improperly withholding security deposits from ticket holders, through a settlement with the Commanders. The US attorney’s office for the Eastern District of Virginia has interviewed witnesses about allegations of financial improprieties involving the team, according to multiple people familiar with the situation. The office of Virginia Attorney General Jason S. Miyares (R) is also investigating.

Maske and Jhabvala reported from Irving, Tex. Clarke reported from Washington.

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