Amazon’s Jeff Bezos turned down the chance to bid on Commanders: Source

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos will not be allowed to bid for the Washington Commanders, the team’s banker, Bank of America, has told the billionaire. The athletic.

The person added that Bezos being banned from bidding has been a reality for months.

Bezos owns the Washington Post, which ran a series of stories about a culture of sexual harassment at the team that ultimately helped build pressure to sell. But other than that, team owner Daniel Snyder has long felt, as his close ones have said over the years, that the paper has tried to have him kicked out of the NFL.

“It’s a free country, he can sell to whoever he wants,” said the person briefed on the sale process. Bezos, because he is not allowed to bid, has not had access to the team’s finances.

The New York Post first reported on Friday that Snyder kept Bezos away from the sales process, adding that the Commanders’ owner may decide to retain control of the franchise he’s owned since 1999 if the bids don’t reach the price he wants. reaches.

However, a person close to the situation told The athletic that activity with the potential sale has “accelerated.”

The athletic also confirmed a Washington Post report that Bezos is working with banking firm Allen & Co. while considering an offer.

Commander coach Ron Rivera ended a month-long search for an offensive coordinator last week. The new signing, former Chiefs OC Eric Bieniemy, asked Rivera and team president Jason Wright for clarity on the franchise sale at the meeting.

“That’s part of what I definitely had to answer,” Wright said Thursday after Bieniemy’s opening press conference. And that’s my job, right? I’m closest to that. Eric, like the rest of us, sees the transition as one that is good for the organization… There is nothing but benefit to the organization, and we’ve already had great success rebuilding the football side of the business where we started when Ron took over.”

Bezos did not make a bid in the first round of bidding that recently closed.

Those bids were reportedly under $6 billion, though sports banking professionals and the law said some may have gone above that amount.

It was previously rumored in the market that Snyder would not accept anything less than $7 billion, a figure that now appears to have dropped to $6 billion. That’s still $1.35 billion more than the Denver Broncos sold last year, a record for a professional sports team. Although the Broncos are in a smaller market, the Commanders’ attendance and market reputation are among the worst in the NFL.

Under intense pressure to cede the club after waves of scandal and negative attention, Snyder announced in November that the club had engaged Bank of America to begin a process that could result in a full or partial sale of the team, though doubts remain as to whether he will follow suit. Through.

Those doubts will only be fueled by Bezos’ exclusion and word that the bids may not have reached Snyder’s preferred threshold.

“This plays out exactly how much people feared,” a sports lawyer said of the scenario that Snyder would create an unrealistic price threshold, keep out the richest bidder and not sell the team.

One bidder is Philadelphia 76ers, New Jersey Devils and Crystal Palace affiliate Josh Harris. Other reported potential bidders include some who came up short on the Broncos, including media investor Byron Allen, and Clearlake Capital founders Behdad Eghbali and José Feliciano. Harris also bid for the Broncos.

The athletic previously reported Harris recently toured the team facilities. Two tours with potential bidders have taken place, said a person close to the situation The athletic.

Wright said Bieniemy asked as many questions about Washington’s principals as the team sought information from the eventual new play-caller.

“I mean, of course, questions about stability, organization and the transaction process and sales and all those other things,” Wright said. “For someone who is going to be a close colleague and a leader committed to getting us to a championship, being able to answer that was important.”

The Commanders and Snyder are the subject of an NFL-led investigation into sexual harassment and workplace misconduct, as well as an investigation into concerns he was withholding income that would be shared with other owners. Both are overseen by former Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Mary Jo White.

It’s been more than a year since the NFL hired White to investigate, and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has repeatedly said the league has no control over when its probes are completed. Some view that claim as skeptical, believing the results of the probes could be sidelined if Snyder sells, or threatened with being released if he doesn’t want to sell.

Colts owner Jim Irsay was the first of Snyder’s colleagues to publicly say there was merit for an impeachment at the league’s fall meetings last year, telling reporters in New York that “there may be enough support” from other owners to get Snyder to have it removed.

It would take 24 of 32 owners to vote to oust one of their peers, an event that has not happened in any league in the US

When it comes down to it, Snyder will certainly argue that he can’t get a fair price for the team because he’s being forced to sell and bidders know that, said a sports investment banker, who asked for anonymity because he’s done past tense business with the team . NFL owners will want to see the highest price as it impacts their own franchises’ valuations.

However, how excluding Bezos fits into that narrative is unclear. And it’s always possible that the NFL will pressure Snyder to let Bezos bid.

Bezos’ Amazon is an NFL affiliate through the Thursday Night Football broadcast. And there’s even talk that Bezos could sell the Post, though it’s uncertain if that’s enough for Snyder and his apparent visceral aversion to all things newspaper.

(Photo by Jeff Bezos: Jay Biggerstaff/USA Today)





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