Magic Johnson is reportedly teaming up with billionaire NBA and NHL team owner Josh Harris in his bid to buy the NFL’s Washington Commanders.
The pair linked up last season when Harris was looking to buy the Denver Broncos. Johnson was welcomed into the group for the ultimately unsuccessful offer.
Commanders owner Daniel Snyder, long embroiled in various controversies and allegations of an abusive work environment and financial improprieties, is seeking to get $7 billion in a possible sale of the team.
Johnson, an NBA legend and former part-owner of the Los Angeles Lakers, is said to bring “money and experience” to the table for Harris’ offer, Sports reported on Monday.
The 63-year-old is already involved in sports ownership with interests in Major League Baseball’s Los Angeles Dodgers, Major League Soccer’s Los Angeles FC and the WNBA’s Los Angeles Sparks.
Billionaire Mitchell Rales of Washington, DC, also joined Harris’s bid, ESPN reported this month.
Magic Johnson (L) is said to be partnering with Josh Harris (R) in the Washington Commanders bid
Harris is the principal owner of the Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Devils, and is the general partner of Premier League soccer team Crystal Palace. Rales is the founder of Danaher Corp.
Snyder has reportedly banned Amazon founder and Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos from bidding on the Commanders. That could clear the way for Harris’ group of investors.
Harris lost to Walmart heir S. Robson ‘Rob’ Walton as Bezos, one of the world’s richest people, in the race to buy the Broncos last year.
Pressure has increased on Snyder to sell the Commanders franchise in recent years, particularly since 2020 amid allegations of sexual harassment, financial improprieties and obstruction against the team and Snyder himself.
While the Commanders have fired many of the people accused of sexual harassment and paid a $10 million fine to the NFL, Snyder has defiantly denied the allegations against him in the face of various investigations, including a congressional investigation.
The owners of the other 31 NFL teams are seeking to end years of club-related controversies, according to a recent report. New York Post report.
In October, Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay said there was “merit in removing” Snyder. However, the report suggests that the owners do not have the necessary votes to force Snyder to sell his club.
Such a move would be unprecedented in the NFL and would require the votes of 24 of the other 31 owners.
Commanders owner Daniel Snyder is looking to get $7 billion in a possible sale of the team.
Snyder enlisted Bank of America to explore a possible sale of the team last year, but it remains unclear whether he intends to close a deal, and if so, whether he is willing to sell the entire club or a minority stake.
According to the Washington Post, Snyder wants a contract from the NFL or the potential buyer of the Commanders to compensate him.
ESPN reported on February 9 that FBI and IRS agents are investigating claims that Snyder obtained a $55 million loan without the knowledge of his minority partners.
After years of disputes, Snyder bought out minority owners Dwight Schar, a home construction executive, Black Diamond Capital CEO Bob Rothman, and FedEx founder Fred Smith, in the spring of 2021. The trio had previously filed a court order in the hope that they would be allowed to sell. his 40.5 percent stake in the team, which Snyder ultimately bought after the NFL approved a debt limit waiver, allowing him to obtain a $450 million loan from Bank of America.
A federal grand jury recently issued subpoenas related to the team’s finances, according to ESPN. The former minority partners had reportedly demanded an NFL investigation into the alleged $55 million loan during a confidential arbitration hearing, but at least one source with knowledge of the proceedings told ESPN that Schar, Smith and Rothman they believed league commissioner Roger Goodell and general counsel Jeffrey Pash sided with Snyder.
If Snyder obtained the $55 million loan without informing his now former minority partners, he would have violated the team’s shareholder agreement, according to documents obtained by the AP.
The NFL did not conduct any investigation into the loan, and Snyder has never been penalized for the claims of financial misconduct.