Daniel Snyder considers ‘possible trades’ for Washington Commanders

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Washington Commanders owner Daniel Snyder opened the door to selling his NFL franchise on Wednesday, announcing that he and his wife, Tanya, have enlisted a major investment bank to “consider potential transactions” related to the team.

The team’s two-sentence statement did not indicate whether Snyders is considering a sale of the entire franchise or just a minority stake. But a team spokesman said, “We’re exploring all options,” and the decision to hire BofA Securities, a division of Bank of America that often handles major NFL business, suggests Snyder is at least weighing the possibility of abandoning the team he owns. Owned for last 23 years.

The announcement comes after a tumultuous two years for the franchise that began with the retirement of the long-controversial nickname, multiple investigations into workplace harassment and financial improprieties against Daniel Snyder and other former team executives, and most recently extended. home game, during which fans shook the video of Tanya Snyder and chanted, “Sell the team!”

Daniel Snyder has directly denied any allegations against him, and the group has repeatedly pledged to “a culture change.” But the possibility of any change in ownership status was not publicly suggested before Wednesday.

“Dan and Tanya Snyder and the Washington Commander announced today that they have engaged BofA Securities to consider a potential transaction,” the commanders said in their statement. “Snyders is committed to putting the best product on the field for the team, all of its employees and its countless fans, and continuing to set the gold standard for workplaces in the NFL.”

While selling the group is only one of the possibilities, it may be the most viable option.

As the recent sale of the Denver Broncos demonstrated, interest among wealthy individuals and corporations in owning an NFL franchise remains high because of the rapidly increasing values ​​of its franchises, but the number of buyers for minority stakes is small. A 40 percent stake in Commanders would cost up to $1.8 billion based on a 20 percent discount because it has no decision-making power. Snyder’s history of conflict and litigation with his business partners and higher-ups may be another consideration for potential investors.

Also, any potential transaction would require the approval of three-quarters of the other team’s owners, league spokesman Brian McCarthy said in a statement Wednesday. Such a vote would come at a time when Snyder faces intense scrutiny from his peers amid investigations by the NFL, the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, and DC and Virginia’s attorneys general.

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In 1999, Daniel Snyder led an investor group that bought the team and its stadium from the Jack Kent Cooke estate for $800 million. Forbes estimated Commanders’ worth at $5.6 billion in August. In March 2021, Snyder bought out his three limited partners — Dwight Schar, Fred Smith and Robert Rothman, who together own 40 percent — for $875 million. That transaction required 31 of his co-owners An additional $450 million in debt must be granted to himIf he is the owner, he has to repay the loan by 2028.

The NFL declined to comment further Wednesday on the prospective transaction. In March, NFL owners approved a resolution recognizing diversity in franchise ownership.

Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay said in recent weeks He and fellow NFL team owners should give serious consideration to voting to remove Snyder From the right of commanders.

“I think we’re going to have more and more discussions about that,” Irsay told reporters at the owners’ meeting in New York last month. “It’s a difficult situation. I believe there is merit in removing him as its owner [Commanders]. I think this is something we need to reconsider. We must look at all the evidence, and we must be thorough in moving forward. But I think it’s something to seriously consider.

Irsay He expanded on his comments in a telephone interview on Friday: “I don’t know how that statement is going to come out. But what has already come out is very disturbing and I do not agree with the process. And I mostly disagree that we haven’t discussed something as drastic as him being fired as an owner. Like I said, I’m not saying we should. I’d say it’s something to seriously consider.

A vote of at least three-quarters of the owners would be required to remove Snyder from the franchise. Several owners told The Washington Post in September that they believed May be given serious consideration Trying to get Snyder out of the league’s franchise ranks, either by forcing him to sell his franchise or by voting to fire him.

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“He needs to sell,” said one of those owners. “Some of us have to go to him and tell him he has to sell.”

It was not immediately clear Wednesday whether any owners had urged Snyder to sell.

“I think there will be a movement,” the same owner said in September. “We need to get 24 votes.”

The owner said the NFL and franchises “need it to happen just like the NBA,” referring to Robert Sarver, owner of the NBA’s Phoenix Suns and the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury. The NBA suspended Sarver for one year and fined him $10 million after the investigation found he used racial epithets and treated female employees differently than their male counterparts, violating the league’s policies. Server announced in September that it had begun the process of finding buyers for both franchises.

Attorney Mary Jo White is leading the NFL’s ongoing investigation.

“Mary Jo White continues her review,” McCarthy said Wednesday. “We have no update on the timeline.”

The league began investigating White after the team’s former cheerleader and marketing manager, Tiffany Johnston, told a congressional roundtable in February that Snyder harassed her at a team party, put his hand on her thigh and pushed her toward his limo. Snyder denied the allegations, calling them “completely false.”

In June, The Post reported the details An employee claims Snyder sexually assaulted her During a flight in his private jet in April 2009. Later that year, the group agreed to pay the fired employee $1.6 million in a confidential settlement. In a 2020 court filing, Snyder The woman’s claims were called “unmerited”.

In April, a House committee detailed allegations of financial misconduct by Snyder and the group in a letter to the Federal Trade Commission. District Democratic Attorney General Carl A. Racine and Virginia’s Republican Attorney General Jason S. Miares announced an investigation. The group has denied any financial irregularities.

Racine’s office has nearly completed its investigation It plans to take further action in this caseA person familiar with the investigation said last month.

“Today’s news that Dan and Tanya Snyder are exploring the sale of the Washington Commanders is a positive development for the team, its former and current employees, and its many fans,” said attorneys Lisa Banks and Debra Katz, who represent more than 40 former team employees. said in a statement on Wednesday. “We’ll have to see how this plays out, but this could be a huge step toward healing and closure for the many brave women and men who have come forward.”

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The NFL has not said when White’s investigation will conclude. Unlike the findings of an earlier investigation into the committee’s workplace conducted by attorney Beth Wilkinson, White’s report will be made public, the league said.

The House committee is expected to release its findings in the coming weeks. Daniel Snyder participated remotely in a sworn hearing with the committee for more than 10 hours in July. Former team president Bruce Allen testified remotely for about 10 hours under subpoena in September.

In November 2020, the Post reported that Snyder’s limited partners received a $900 million offer from Behdad Ekbali and billionaire co-founders Clearlake Capital and Feliciano’s wife, Quanza Jones. Sales blocked, Snyder tried to exercise his right of first refusal to match the offers made to Smith and Rothman, but because the offer to Schar did not match, people familiar with the situation said at the time. This led to a dispute over whether Snyder was entitled to exercise such rights selectively.

Ekbali and Feliciano were reportedly among the bidders for the Broncos, which were sold in June by the Pat Bowlen Trust to a group led by Walmart heir Rob Walton for $4.65 billion. It is the most ever paid for an NFL franchise. Owners It approved Walton’s purchase in August.

Wednesday’s announcement stalled negotiations for public funding for a new Commanders stadium. A state legislator who led efforts to draw the commanders to Virginia said in June that those efforts had stalled. State Senate Majority Leader Richard L. Zaslav (D-Fairfax) said then: “There were a lot of things out there, a lot of people saying, ‘Saslav, this will have to wait.'”

Before Wednesday, the generals said Snyder would not sell the team. Following Irsay’s original public comments, a spokesperson for the group said, “When he has a chance to see the actual evidence in this case, we hope that Mr. Irsay will decide that the Snyders have no reason to sell the franchise. They won’t.”

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