One of the owners of the Tennessee Titans has reached agreement to sell her one-third stake in the National Football League team to members of her family, ending a three-year process that put the franchise at odds with the league.
Susie Adams Smith, a daughter of Bud Adams, who founded the team as the Houston Oilers in 1960, is selling her stake in the club’s parent company, KSA Industries. KSA includes various businesses outside of sports, including real estate as well as oil and gas. KSA was represented by PJT Partners, which declined to comment.
The NFL unanimously approved the measure during a scheduled meeting on Wednesday, and league commissioner Roger Goodell said the sale is expected to close by the end of the year.
When the transaction is completed, Amy Adams Strunk, Smith’s sister and already the team’s controlling owner, will assume a 50% stake in the team, up from her one-third position, the person said. Other family members will control the other 50%, according to the person.
“The Titans franchise has meant so much to me and my family over the 61 years of its existence,” Adams Strunk said in a statement. “With this transaction, we are pleased to ensure that the legacy started by my father will continue in our family. We are thrilled to make this commitment and will continue to invest in our team’s future growth and success. Our belief in what lies ahead for this team is unwavering and we are eager to see it unfold.”
The somewhat unusual ownership structure put the team out of compliance with the NFL’s rules.
Bud Adams left three equal shares of the club to his descendants when he died in 2013. The NFL prefers there to be a clear managing partner that can make decisions.
With the Titans, any major change required a 75% supermajority vote. Under the existing structure, even a one-third stakeholder could block any proposed initiative, giving that person outsized say in team governance.
There was some buyer interest from outside the family.
Chris Shumway, managing partner of Shumway Capital, was in talks to acquire Adams Smith’s stake but couldn’t reach an agreement on an eventual path to control of the team, the person said.
It isn’t known how much the family is paying for Adams Smith’s one-third stake or at what valuation.
Sportico in August valued the Titans at $2.23 billion, 28th in the 32-team league.
The Titans defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars, 31-10 on Sunday to move to 9-4 this season and first place in the AFC South.
(This story has been updated with the results of the league-wide vote in the third paragraph.)