CHARLOTTE – After a five month search for a buyer of the Carolina Panthers NFL franchise, following founder and owner Jerry Richardson’s sudden listing of the team amid allegations of sexual harassment and racial discrimination, multiple media have announcedannounced a record-breaking deal for hedge fund billionaire David Tepper to acquire the team.
“Hedge fund manager David Tepper is expected to sign a deal Tuesday to buy the Carolina Panthers for $2.2 billion in cash.
A source close to the process told the Observer that the deal will be subject to an owners’ vote at the next NFL meeting, which runs next Tuesday and Wednesday in Atlanta.
The $2.2 billion would be a record for an NFL franchise, besting the $1.4 billion price for the Buffalo Bills in 2014. Forbes had valued the Panthers at $2.3 billion.
Tepper, 60, is the richest of the known bidders who sought to buy the Panthers, with a net worth of $11 billion, according to Forbes. He’s also the only known bidder already vetted by the NFL, as he is part-owner of his hometown team, the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Several key details about Tepper’s deal remain unknown. While he’s given no indication of wanting to move the team, he hasn’t commented publicly about his plans.
Also unknown now: will he have any minority partners and what are his plans for Bank of America Stadium. The Panthers home field has been renovated in recent years, but some observers have said a new owner is likely to want a new building or more significant upgrades. What the sale will mean to the team’s current staff is also unclear.
A spokesman for Tepper declined to comment. But in a brief interview last month, Tepper said that he likes the city.
“I have to tell you, for me, I like the people down there. They remind me of my original hometown, Pittsburgh,” said Tepper, who visiting Charlotte in April and last week as part of the bidding process.
Charlotte businessman Felix Sabates who has talked with Tepper during the bidding process, on Tuesday called the hedge fund manager “the perfect person to buy the team.” There is “no question” that Tepper will keep the team in Charlotte, he added.
“He loves Charlotte,” said Sabates, who had looked to pull together a local ownership group earlier in the sales process. “I think he will make the necessary investments to make the team go forward.””
One thing Tepper doesn’t love (to put it kindly), apparently, is Donald Trump. He previously blasted the president as a liar and disingenuous for not supporting charity events in the New York area after Hurricane Sandy.
And although he supports Republican candidates, and has lauded the anti-regulation atmosphere ushered in under complete Republican control in Washington, D.C., his views of Trump haven’t cooled.
“The economy’s really good right now, despite different things,” Tepper told a first-year business school student at Carnegie Mellon University, SI reported. “Whether I like the person or not, I’m not going to get into that — although I did call him a demented, narcissistic scumbag. And if you look up ‘demented, narcissistic scumbag,’ you’ll see my name calling Trump that. Just Google those three words.”
Jeff Eisenband, senior of ThePostGame, tweeted Tuesday that Tepper’s political views may color his entry into the NFL.
“David Tepper’s political candidness is going to start his ownership of the Panthers with a series of allies and a series of rivals. But unlike in politics, he can’t get voted out for those views,” Eisenband wrote. “He’s buying the team fair and square in a free market economy.””
Well…free-ish. It’d take a lot of heavy lifting by all branches of government to bring back to free market economy as intended by our founders. But we digress.
Economically speaking, for Tepper, the purchase could result in some massive tax breaks due to IRS rules that allow for tax deductions for the purchase on non-tangible assets, according to Forbes.
“David Tepper’s purchase of the Carolina Panthers could yield the hedge fund billionaire around $2 billion in tax savings.
How could someone worth $11 billion get that big a deduction? It’s the law
Sports teams are loaded up with intangible assets. In the case of the Panthers, it is likely that Tepper will allocate at least 80% of the purchase price towards intangible assets as well. That would yield him a write-off of $1.76 billion, or $117 million a year. Maybe more, not likely less.”
We guess making such prudent investments is what made Tepper one of the richest men in the country, after all. And his distaste of Trump may be right at home in the Queen City, a Democrat stronghold.
Of concern to taxpayers maybe what, if anything, Tepper does to improve or build stadium capacity. Such large scale projects often stick their handout for taxpayer support, despite the fact that such “investments” prove to be losers for said taxpayers.