Los Angeles Chargers owner Dea Spanos Berberian is looking to sell a 24% stake in the NFL team, according to multiple people familiar with the talks.
The minority piece includes 15% held personally by Berberian, and equity she holds via the family trust, said one of the people, who was granted anonymity because the details are private. That trust is currently the subject of a legal battle between Berberian and her brother, Chargers principal owner Dean Spanos, over the NFL team’s ownership and future.
Sportico currently values the Chargers at $3.62 billion, and it’s unclear if the sale will include any of the benefits that often accompany a minority stake this size–such as a say in governance or a right of first refusal should control of the franchise eventually change hands. A representative for the Chargers declined to comment, citing litigation between Berberian and her fellow owners.
It’s rare for an LP stake this large to sell in the NFL. Unlike all the other major U.S. leagues, the NFL prohibits private equity firms from buying minority stakes in its franchises. Washington Commanders owner Dan Snyder is also currently in talks to sell his team, which Sportico values at $4.78 billion.
Alex Spanos purchased a majority of the franchise in 1984 in an $80 million deal, and later increased his ownership to 96% of the team. Spanos died in 2018, and like a number of other NFL families, the transfer of ownership to the next generation has proven difficult.
Right now each of Alex Spanos’ four kids—Dean, Dea, Michael and Alexandra—own 15% of the Chargers on their own, with another 36% total held in a family trust. None of the four siblings therefore hold a majority, but Dean Spanos attends owners meetings and is considered the Chargers’ principal owner. Berberian and Dean Spanos are also co-trustees of the family trust.
Last year Berberian filed litigation in San Joaquin’s superior court arguing that her brothers, Dean and Michael, illegally conspired to prevent her from a fiduciary-protected role in decision-making. As Berberian put it in one court filing, Dean and Michael engineered a so-called “campaign to punish, belittle and humiliate” her and denied her access.
Last August, a judge sent the case to arbitration, where it remains. Berberian selling her stake could include a provision that ends the legal dispute.
The Chargers are tenants in $5 billion SoFi Stadium, which is owned by Rams owner Stan Kroenke, but the team is building its own $270 million practice facility on a 14-acre site in nearby El Segundo.
Led by 25-year-old quarterback Justin Herbert, the Chargers lost to the Jacksonville Jaguars in the first round of the playoffs last season. The team averaged 69,995 fans per home game, the 11th highest total in the league.
With assistance from Michael McCann.