CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - A South Carolina businessman has released a statement wishing the Carolina Panthers "success" moving forward after hedge fund manager David Tepper reportedly agreed to buy the team from founder Jerry Richardson for a record $2.2 billion.
"My family and I are grateful to have had the opportunity to be included as a potential buyer of one of the premier assets in all of the Carolinas – the Panthers football team," Ben Navarro said in a statement sent to WBTV. "It would have been a privilege to become the stewards of this iconic franchise to ensure its home remains in the Carolinas where it belongs, to establish a new era of leadership and excellence on and off the field, and to leverage the team's NFL platform to further our quest to help all children gain access to a great education."
"We would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to the colleagues, business associates, and community and philanthropic partners who supported us. We wish the Panthers and their fans every success going forward," he ended his statement saying.
Navarro, a billionaire from Charleston, was one of four known bidders on the Panthers, who went on the market in January following an explosive Sports Illustrated report that detailed allegations of sexual and racial misconduct by owner and founder Jerry Richardson. Navarro is the CEO of Sherman Financial Group.
NFL Network's Ian Rapoport mentioned Tuesday morning that the sale of the Carolina Panthers to Florida hedge fund manager David Tepper was "moving along as all sides have hoped." On Monday, Rapoport reported that Tepper was finalizing his contract to purchase ownership of the team from current owner Jerry Richardson.
On Tuesday, sources told Rapoport that the sale of the team may be completed by the end of the day.
Adam Schefter, who is another insider for NFL's ESPN, says the sale would keep the team in North Carolina. The deal would have to be approved at the owner's meetings in Atlanta on May 22.
According to WIS, Tepper is the founder and president of Appaloosa Management, which is a global hedge fund based in Miami Beach, Florida.
The Charlotte Observer reported that Tepper is the richest of the known bidders who sought to buy the Panthers and reportedly has a net worth of $11 billion.
Tepper is also a part-owner of his hometown team, the Pittsburgh Steelers, so he has already been vetted by the NFL, according to the Observer.
Rapoport said Tepper would have to sell his minority stake in the Steelers and get approval by the NFL owners.
Richardson, who founded a Panthers franchise that started NFL play in 1995, reportedly had an original plan for the team to be sold within two years of his death.
Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles released a statement about the potential sale on Twitter. She said she would be fighting to keep the team in Charlotte.
Since the announcement, there have been a handful of bidders who have expressed interest in buying the team. Among them was Charlotte businessman Felix Sabates.