NFL-Browns owner in talks with potential investor
July 27 |
July 27 (Reuters) - Cleveland Browns owner Randy Lerner, who also owns English Premier League soccer club Aston Villa, said on Friday that he is in talks with a potential investor for the National Football League (NFL) franchise.
Following media reports out of Cleveland suggesting Lerner is seeking a buyer, the NFL team has confirmed that talks are ongoing with Tennessee businessman Jimmy Haslam but kept details to a minimum.
"In connection with current rumors 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," said Lerner.
"We are currently in negotiations and both sides have agreed to keep that dialogue and its details private. Given that any transaction would require league approval, care has been taken so that this process will not be disruptive to the organization, in particular the football team, as it prepares for the upcoming season."
Lerner took control of the Browns in October 2002 following the death of his father, Al, and the team has failed to make the playoffs since losing in the wild-card round of that season.
The Browns are worth an estimated $977 million, 20th among the NFL's 32 teams, according to Forbes.
Brooklyn-born Lerner bought Birmingham club Aston Villa in 2006 and has struggled to find success for the team.
Haslam, whose brother Bill is the governor of Tennessee, has been a minority owner in the Pittsburgh Steelers since 2008. (Reporting by Simon Evans; Editing by Frank Pingue)
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