How much will Richardson get for the Panthers?

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With Panthers owner Jerry Richardson deciding to sell the team, the ultimate question becomes what will he get for it?

Richardson owns 48 percent of the team, and his ownership group paid $206 million in expansion fees in 1993 for the team that officially joined the league in 1995.

It’s not entirely clear whether Richardson will be selling only his stake in the team, or whether he has the right under the relevant agreements to put the full 100 percent of the equity up for sale. Regardless, the perceived value of the full franchise will determine what Richardson gets for his 48 percent.

So what will be the value of the full franchise? Terry and Kim Pegula paid $1.4 billion for the Bills in 2014. Forbes has valued the Panthers at $2.3 billion, but without full access to information that is not publicly available, Forbes can’t properly and accurately generate a valuation of the Panthers or any team.

Besides, any asset that is up for sale is worth only what someone will pay for it.

Adam Schefter of ESPN essentially speculates that “Richardson will get in the range of $2.5 billion.” Obviously, he won’t get that, because he doesn’t own 100 percent of the team; at 48 percent, a $2.5 billion valuation would put his take at exactly $1.2 billion.

But this assumes that someone will pay $2.5 billion for 100 percent of the team, or $1.2 billion for Richardson’s 48 percent.

Richardson isn’t exactly operating from a position of strength, because he won’t have the “screw it I won’t sell it at all” leverage that comes from having the ability to keep the asset. Basically, he’ll be looking for bids, he’ll hope that there will be plenty of them, and he’ll pick the best one.

Then there’s the question of whether he’ll even be the one making the decision as to who will buy the team. With Richardson giving up day-to-day control as the NFL investigates allegations of workplace misconduct, Richardson’s role in screening bids and selecting a winner is up in the air, at best.

Regardless, nothing is worth a penny more (or less) than what someone will pay for it, whether it’s $1.4 billion or $2 billion or $2.5 billion or more than that.

One big factor in pegging the value necessarily will be the expected future earnings from the league’s broadcasting deals. With ratings shrinking and TV viewing habits in flux, whoever buys the team will be crunching numbers based on an educated guess as to how much money the NFL will yield from the packages that will be sold collectively by the club that the new owner will be joining.

Bottom line? Plenty of factors will determine the bottom line that Richardson gets, and he’ll be hoping that at least two groups will be digging for their bottom dollars in order to drive the price as high as it can go.

4 responses to “How much will Richardson get for the Panthers?

  1. Well, this will draw the usual response from the alleged “fans” who are celebrating the league’s supposed decline. Cheering for the demise of the game you claim to love is nonsensical.

    And please, don’t feed us the line that “I’m complaining to force the NFL to revert to football as I knew it”. Your complaining doesn’t amount to a hill of beans. The fringe element cheering for debilitating injuries and treating the players as mere pieces of meat is not going to prevail.

  2. I imagine there’s already a handshake deal in place with Eddie DeBartolo. They just have to work out the details, but each guy is going to get what he wants. There won’t be any funny business from either side. It won’t matter about leverage or who has the upper hand. This will be an easy transaction. Whoever owns the other 52% will be happy to welcome the Hall of Fame owner into the mix.

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