Washington Football Team owner Dan Snyder has reached an agreement to buy out his minority partners, according to people familiar with the deal, ending a long public fight over the future ownership of one of the NFL’s most valuable franchises.
Snyder is paying roughly $900 million for stakes owned by Dwight Schar, Robert Rothman and Frederick Smith, which total 40.5% of the team, according to one of the people. The team in its entirety is worth $3.58 billion, according to Sportico valuations.
Snyder is seeking approval from the league’s other owners to take on an additional $450 million in debt to complete the transaction, according to the people. They are expected to vote on that request and the sale itself at a regularly scheduled owners’ meeting next week.
The move will give the embattled Snyder full control of the team, which he originally purchased in 1999. It also comes amid an NFL investigation into allegations of workplace sexual harassment by team executives.
The NFL declined to comment. A representative for the team didn’t immediately respond to a phone call.
The trio of minority owners purchased their shares in 2003. Last year, amid controversy surrounding the team’s prior name, they joined forces to sell their stakes to an unidentified buyer for approximately $900 million. Snyder blocked the sale, claiming he had right of first refusal. The matter, which grew trickier because of Snyder’s interest in only buying out Rothman and Smith, grew into a legal battle that eventually involved the NFL itself.
The in-fighting became public fodder through legal filings and disclosures. Following a disagreement over dividend payments and financial management, Snyder removed all three men from the team’s board. Snyder later claimed that Schar had waged “an extortion campaign” against him in the media.
Amid the ownership fight and NFL investigation, the team has undergone dramatic changes over the past 12 months. In July it dropped its former name, which many considered a slur, and hired former NFL player Jason Wright as the league’s first black president. There are a handful of other new executives, and a new coed dance team, which is replacing the cheerleading program at the center of many sexual harassment allegations involving the team.
The sale was first reported Wednesday by Go Long, a football-focused newsletter.