Cleveland Browns owner Randy Lerner has confirmed that he is in negotiations to sell the National Football League team to Tennessee businessman Jimmy Haslam.
Lerner, who is also the owner of English Premier League club Aston Villa, has controlled the Browns since 2002, having inherited the franchise from his late father. Rumours of a possible sale first emerged in June, but the speculation was denied at the time by Browns president Paul Holmgren.
However, Lerner, who has overseen a disappointing decade at the Browns, which has garnered a single playoff appearance, confirmed the talks over a change of ownership. “In connection with rumours and press inquiries, I can report that I’ve been approached by Mr. Jimmy Haslam, who is interested in making an investment in the Cleveland Browns,” Lerner said in a statement. “We are currently in negotiations, and both sides have agreed to keep that dialogue and its details private.”
According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, a sale could be approved before the start of the regular-season in September, and former Philadelphia Eagles president Joe Banner is part of the group seeking to acquire the team along with Haslam, who is the CEO of Pilot J Travel Centers. According to Forbes, Cleveland has a value of US$ 977 million – ranking 20th in the list of NFL teams.
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