New York investment bank to handle sale of Carolina Panthers

New York investment bank to handle sale of Carolina Panthers
(AP Photo/Mike McCarn)

CHARLOTTE, NC (Katherine Peralta and Rick Rothacker/ The Charlotte Observer) The Carolina Panthers said Tuesday that the sale of the team will be handled by a team of New York and Charlotte-based legal and financial professionals at the end of the team's season.

The sale will be led by Steve Greenberg of the New York investment bank Allen & Company LLC on financial matters, and Joe Leccese of Proskauer Rose LLP and Billy Moore of Moore & Van Allen PLLC on legal matters, the Panthers said in a statement.

"As previously stated, the process will not begin, and offers will not be entertained, until the last game is played," the team statement read.

Allen & Company is a notoriously tight-lipped, privately held bank that has handled deals for high-profile clients such as Coca-Cola, News Corp., and Google according to reports.

Its former chairman Donald Keough, also a former Coca-Cola executive, was a minority owner of the Panthers until his death in 2015.

Billy Moore gained attention in 2013 for telling Charlotte City Council that it should act quickly to vote in favor of giving the Panthers $87.5 million for renovations at Bank of America Stadium. At the time, city attorney Bob Hagemann believed the team might be sold and moved if council members turned the team down.

Following an explosive Sports Illustrated report last month alleging workplace misconduct by Panthers owner Jerry Richardson, the 81-year-old announced that he will sell the team at the end of the 2017 season.

Two days after the report was published, Richardson said he was stepping down from day-to-day management of the team, effective immediately.

The Panthers and Moore declined to comment further. Greenberg and Leccese could not immediately be reached.

The news release did not mention any role for Charlotte-based Bank of America, whose former CEO, Hugh McColl Jr., worked closely with Richardson to finance the construction of the team's stadium, which opened in 1996. "I can tell you that without Bank of America there would be no Carolina Panthers," Richardson said at a 2004 news conference when the bank agreed to a stadium naming rights deal with the Panthers.