Randy Lerner, now former owner of the Cleveland Browns, has reached a deal with Jimmy Haslam in the sell of the franchise. According to league sources, this deal is worth over 1 billion dollars. The agreement and paperwork were finalized Thursday morning with two phases. Haslam will take over controlling interest of the Browns for more than $700 million, followed by a payment of more than $300 million to complete the deal.
The NFL had a huge part in the deal’s completion as Haslam had informed the league previously his desires to buy a team, while Lerner, much more intact with his soccer team, showed interest in selling the Browns. It was a perfect match to help the sale of the team go smoothly.
Jimmy Haslam is president and CEO of the Knoxville, Tenn.-based Pilot Flying J, which is the largest operator of travel centers and travel plazas in all of North America with more than 550 retail locations. He’s also the older brother of Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, who also worked for the family business before he was elected mayor, followed by governor in Knoxville.
Haslam made a statement through the franchise Thursday morning announcing the agreement between both sides
“This is a very exciting time for my family and me. To own such a storied franchise as the Cleveland Browns, with its rich tradition and history, is a dream come true. We are committed to keeping the team in Cleveland and seeing it get back to the elite of the NFL — something all Browns fans want and deserve.”
This news is definitely something that Cleveland fans are surely excited about, as many are unhappy with Randy Lerner. He’s often criticized as disengaged from the struggling club. The Browns have been in the Lerner family since 1999, back when the franchise was reborn from Baltimore. It was then purchased from the late Al Lerner for $530 million. Randy Lerner inherited the team when his father passed in 2002.
The most interesting part about the purchase of the franchise is the fact that Haslam has actually been a minority investor in the Pittsburgh Steelers, long time rival of the Browns. It’s understood that Haslam has begun to make plans with the Rooney family to sell the portion of the Steelers that he owns.