Carolina Panthers

Carolina Panthers announce deal to sell team to billionaire David Tepper

The Carolina Panthers officially announced Wednesday morning the agreement to sell the team to billionaire hedge fund manager David Tepper.

The finalization of the deal was reported by the Observer on Tuesday morning.

While the news release from the team did not include financial details, a source close to the matter told the Observer that the final price Tepper will pay is $2.275 billion, $2.2 billion of which will be in cash up front.

"I am thrilled to have been selected to be the next owner of the Carolina Panthers," Tepper said in a statement. "I have learned a great deal about the community and the team over the past several months and look forward to becoming part of the Carolinas.

"I want to thank (founder) Jerry Richardson and the other Panthers partners for all they have done to establish and develop the NFL in the Carolinas. It has been a remarkable 25-year journey and I promise to build upon the Panthers' success on the field and in the community."

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Richardson, 81, announced in December that he would sell the team after a Sports Illustrated report detailed allegations of sexual and racial misconduct against him in the workplace.

He has not commented on the allegations that prompted him to sell.

In a statement released by the team, Richardson said, "Bringing the Panthers and the NFL to the Carolinas in 1993 was enormously fulfilling for Rosalind (his wife) and me and all of our partners.

"We are deeply grateful for the outpouring of support over the last 25 years. You have taken the Panthers into your hearts and made them part of this warm and supportive community. We want to thank all of our past and present players, coaches and staff for their hard work in making the Panthers a great success both on the field and in the community. The personal relationships we have enjoyed have been very meaningful to us."

Richardson's statement went on to express confidence in Tepper's leadership of the organization in "both its football and community initiatives."

Tepper still must be approved by 24 of the NFL's 32 owners at the league meetings in Atlanta next week. As a minority partner of the Steelers (he must now sell his shares), Tepper has already been vetted by the league and the approval process will likely be smooth.

The sale becomes official in July.

In a statement, Steelers President Art Rooney II said Tepper has been a good partner in the ownership group since 2009.

"Though I am sorry he will be leaving us, I am excited for David to become the new owner of the Carolina Panthers. I wish David all the best as he completes the process to finalize the transaction and assumes the leadership of the Panthers’ organization," Rooney said.

Panthers general manager Marty Hurney wouldn't comment. Chief operating officer Tina Becker was not immediately available for comment.

Several big issues remain to be resolved, including Tepper's plans for Bank of America Stadium, the coaching staff and potential minority partners.

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Staff writers Katherine Peralta and Joseph Person contributed.
Jourdan Rodrigue: 704-358-5071; @jourdanrodrigue