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Daniel Snyder considers “potential transactions” of Washington’s leaders

Suspension

Washington captains owner Daniel Snyder opened the door to the sale of the NFL franchise on Wednesday, announcing that he and his wife, Tanya, had hired a major investment bank to “look at potential transactions” related to the team.

The team’s two-sentence statement did not specify whether Snyders were considering selling the entire franchise or just a minority stake. But a spokesperson for the team said, “We’re exploring all options,” and the decision to hire BofA Securities, a division of Bank of America that often handles the major NFL business, indicates that Snyder is at least considering the possibility of letting go of the team he has owned over the course of the year. the past 23 years.

The announcement arrived after a turbulent two years for the franchise, which began with the long-controversial retirement of its name, and included multiple investigations into allegations of workplace harassment and financial impropriety against Danielle Snyder and former team executives and expanded to the latest. The home match, in which fans booed a video of Tanya Snyder and chanted, “Sell the team!”

Daniel Snyder has denied any direct allegations against him, and the team has repeatedly pledged its commitment to a “cultural shift”. But no change in ownership status had been publicly proposed before Wednesday.

“Dan and Tanya Snyder and leaders of Washington today announced that they have hired BofA Securities to look into potential transactions,” the leaders said in their statement. “Snyders remains committed to the team and all of its employees and countless fans to putting the best product on the field and continuing to work to set the gold standard for workplaces in the NFL.”

While selling the team is only one possibility, it may be the most viable option.

As the recent sale of the Denver Broncos has shown, interest among wealthy individuals and businesses in owning an NFL franchise remains very high due to the rapidly rising values ​​of franchises, but the group of minority stake buyers is small for the same reason. A 40 percent stake in leaders could cost up to $1.8 billion, based on a 20 percent discount because it would not include any decision-making power. Snyder’s history of conflict and litigation with his business partners and senior executives is likely another consideration for potential investors.

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

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In 1999, Daniel Snyder led a group of investors who bought the team and its stadium for $800 million from the Jack Kent Cooke property. Forbes estimated in August that the leaders were worth $5.6 billion. In March 2021, Snyder bought three of his limited partners — Dwight Shar, Fred Smith and Robert Rothman, who collectively owned about 40 percent of the franchise — for $875 million. That deal required his fellow 31-year-olds to give him a waiver to take over an additional $450 million in debta debt he must pay off by 2028 if he remains an owner.

The NFL declined to comment Wednesday on the upcoming deal. In March, the NFL owners passed a resolution endorsing diversity in franchise ownership.

Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay said in recent weeks He and his fellow NFL team owners should seriously consider voting to remove Snyder Owned by leaders.

“I suppose we’ll have more and more discussions about that,” Irsay said last month, speaking to reporters at a owners meeting in New York. “It is a difficult situation. I think there is an advantage to removing him as the owner of [Commanders]. I think it’s something we should review. We have to look at all the evidence, and we have to be meticulous going forward. But I think it’s something that should be taken seriously.”

irsay And expanded in his statements in a phone interview Friday: “I’m not sure how this report was released. But what has already been found is very troubling, and I don’t agree with the process. And I probably don’t agree that we didn’t discuss something more serious like removing it as an owner. Like I said, that’s not something I’d say should be.” We have to do it. I say it’s something that should be taken seriously.”

It would take a vote of at least three-quarters of the owners to remove Snyder from ownership. Several owners told The Washington Post in September that they think can be seriously considered to attempt to drive Snyder out of the league’s ownership ranks, either by persuading him to sell his franchise or by voting to remove it.

“It needs to be sold,” one of those owners said at the time. “Some of us need to go to him and tell him he needs to sell.”

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

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

That owner then said that the NFL and its owners “need this to happen like it did in the NBA,” referring to Robert Sarver, owner of the Phoenix Suns, and Phoenix Mercury of the NBA. The NBA suspended Sarver for a year and fined him $10 million after an investigation found he used racial traits and treated female staff to different standards than their male counterparts, among other violations of that league’s policies. Sarver announced in September that it had begun the process of finding buyers for the two franchises.

The current investigation into the NFL is being conducted by attorney Mary Jo White.

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

The league launched the White investigation after Tiffany Johnston, the former cheerleader and marketing director for the team, said at a congressional roundtable in February that Snyder harassed her at the team dinner, put his hand on her thigh and pressed her toward his limousine. Snyder denied the accusations, calling them “blatant lies.”

In June, The Post reported details of An employee alleges that Snyder sexually assaulted her during a flight on his private jet in April 2009. Later that year, the team agreed to pay the employee $1.6 million, who fired him, in a confidential settlement. In court filing for 2020, Snyder The woman’s claims were described as “unworthy”.

Investigators from the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia have interviewed witnesses about allegations of financial wrongdoing for the team, people familiar with the situation said Wednesday. This office declined to comment. ESPN reported Wednesday that a criminal investigation has been opened.

“Washington leaders have cooperated fully with federal and state investigators since the House Oversight Review Committee sent its letter to the FTC on April 12, 2022 — and now nearly [seven] John Brownlee, the team’s attorney, said in a statement released by the leaders. “The team produced tens of thousands of records in response to requests.

“The investigations, mischaracterized by anonymous ESPN sources, are based on the same baseless allegations made by a disgruntled former employee, Jason Friedman, who is also represented by the law firm Katz Banks. We are confident that after these agencies have had an opportunity to review the documents and complete the her work, they would reach the same conclusion as the team’s internal review – that these claims are simply untrue.”

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In April, the House committee detailed allegations of financial wrongdoing by Snyder and the team in a letter to the Federal Trade Commission. Racine, the Democratic District Attorney, and the Republican Attorney General of Virginia, Jason Millais, announced that they would investigate. The team denied any financial wrongdoing.

Racine’s office is about to finish its investigations and Planning to take further action in the casea person familiar with the investigation said last month.

“News of today that Dan and Tanya Snyder are exploring the sale of the Washington leaders is a good development for the team, its former and current employees, and its many fans,” attorneys Lisa Banks and Debra Katz, who represent more than 40 former employees of the team, said in a statement Wednesday. “We’ll have to see how this happens, but obviously this could be a huge step toward recovery and closure for the many brave women and men who have come forward.”

The NFL has not said when White’s investigation will be completed. The association said White’s report, in contrast to the findings of an earlier investigation into the team’s workplace conducted by attorney Beth Wilkinson, will be made public.

The House committee is expected to announce its findings in the coming weeks. Daniel Snyder remotely testified before the committee for more than 10 hours in July. The former team boss, Bruce Allen, gave a remote statement for about 10 hours under a subpoena in September.

Wednesday’s announcement also comes as public funding negotiations for the stadium for new potential leaders are on hold. The state legislator, who led the effort to attract leaders to Virginia in June, said those efforts had stalled. Senate Majority Leader Richard L. Saslow (Fairfax Democrat) said at the time, “There were a lot of things a lot of people were saying, ‘Saslow, this thing needs to wait. “”

Prior to Wednesday, the leaders said Snyder would not sell the team. Following Irsay’s original public comments, a team spokesperson said: “We are confident that when given the opportunity to see actual evidence in this case, Mr. Irsay will conclude that there is no reason for Snyders to consider selling the franchise. Nor will they.”