Bidder visiting Carolina Panthers this week as sale of team heat - | WBTV Charlotte

Bidder visiting Carolina Panthers this week as sale of team heats up, sources say

(Jeff Siner | The Charlotte Observer) (Jeff Siner | The Charlotte Observer)

ORLANDO, FL (Joseph Person and Rick Rothacker/The Charlotte Observer) - Canadian steel company CEO Alan Kestenbaum is visiting Charlotte on Wednesday after having made a bid on the Carolina Panthers, three sources told the Observer on Tuesday.

The sources spoke on the condition of anonymity because the bidding process is confidential. Kestenbaum, whose interest in the Panthers was first reported by the Observer earlier this month, could not be reached for comment.

Kestenbaum and some of his associates are scheduled to be at Bank of America Stadium throughout the day to get a closer look at a franchise that is expected to sell for more than $2 billion.

Site visits are expected to be part of the process as the sale nears its final stages.

Several NFL owners and other league officials said this week during the NFL’s annual meetings that they expect Panthers owner Jerry Richardson to decide on a buyer in the next three to four weeks. NFL owners then would vote on the sale during their spring meetings May 21-23 in Atlanta.

Kestenbaum is one of at least four known bidders on the Panthers, who went on the block in January after Richardson announced plans to sell the team following a Sports Illustrated report detailing claims of sexual and racial misconduct by Richardson.

The other bidders include Charleston businessman Ben Navarro, Miami hedge fund manager David Tepper and e-commerce entrepreneur Michael Rubin. Bloomberg reported that Rubin dropped out when the price reached $2.5 billion, but sources have told the Observer Rubin remains interested at the right price.

Kestenbaum is chairman and CEO of the private equity firm Bedrock Industries LP, which in June bought a 107-year-old Canadian steel company now called Stelco Holdings. According to a bio on his company website, Kestenbaum has “extensive investing and operating experience in the natural resources sectors as well as a successful track record in turnarounds and restructurings.”

Bloomberg reported that Canadian billionaire Jim Pattison could back Kestenbaum’s bid, citing people familiar with the matter. But Pattison told the Observer that he is not interested in buying an NFL team.

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