One of the owners of the Tennessee Titans has closed on the agreement to sell her one-third stake in the NFL 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 the late Bud Adams, who founded the team as the Houston Oilers in 1960, has sold 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.
On Tuesday, the NFL referred questions to the team, which didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking comment on the transaction’s status. The league unanimously approved the measure during a scheduled meeting earlier this month. Commissioner Roger Goodell said at the time the sale was expected to close by the end of the year.
Amy Adams Strunk, Smith’s sister and already the team’s controlling owner, now assumes a 50% stake in the team, up from her one-third position. Other family members will control the other 50%. It isn’t known how much the family is paying for 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 franchise has meant so much to me and my family over the 61 years of its existence,” Strunk said in a statement when the deal was first announced earlier this month. “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 teams to have a clear managing partner with decision-making authority.
With the Titans, any major change required a 75% supermajority vote. Under its previous structure, even a one-third stakeholder could block any proposed initiative, giving that person outsized say in team governance.
The Titans lost at the Green Bay Packers, 40-14, on Sunday, but are still 10-5 this season, good for a first-place tie in the AFC South with the Indianapolis Colts. They will clinch a playoff spot with a win Sunday over the Texans at Houston, a Colts loss at home against Jacksonville, or if both the Titans and Colts tie.