In one of our most recent updates on the situation, we mentioned a meeting between Josh Harris and the NFL owners finance committee set to take place today. The meeting with the eight-member committee did, in fact, occur today, and according to Mark Maske and Nicki Jhabvala of The Washington Post, it went very well.
Harris attended the meeting with fellow investor Mitchell Rales. Rales, co-founder of the Danaher Corporation, is one of the group’s top investors and reportedly holds favor with the committee. Other reported investors include South American billionaire Alejandro Santo Domingo, whose family’s portfolio includes the likes of Anhueser-Busch InBev, Chilean bank Corpbanca, and Spanish bank Inmobiliaria Colonial, ex-CEO of Google Eric Schmidt, chair of the DC Open tennis tournament Mark Ein, and NBA Hall of Famer Magic Johnson.
The meeting was intended to be an opportunity for Harris to address a number of issues the committee had with his most recent proposal, namely issues concerning the amount of debt held by the potential new owner, as well as some tax and incentive issues. Maske and Jhabvala reported that the two and a half hour meeting “was productive and, barring any unforeseen setbacks, the sale is advancing toward expected ratification by the league’s team owners as soon as next month.”
In the meeting, Harris was apparently very cooperative and “continued to pledge to make the requested adjustments to his deal.” The impending ratification is contingent on Harris meeting those requests, but everyone around the situation seems nearly certain that he will be able to do that.
The next owners’ meeting isn’t scheduled to take place until October, but a call for a special session is expected to take place to assist the progress of the sale. The special session could take place as soon as late July and would require approval from 24 of the league’s 32 owners. The approval is not a main concern, as the owners generally follow the finance committee’s recommendations in situations like the sale of a franchise. The vote, theoretically, could be taken remotely, but for important matters such as this, the league tends to prefer an in-person meeting.
Part of the rush comes from the exclusivity of the deal. Harris reached a signed, exclusive agreement with current owner Dan Snyder on May 12, following the submission of a nonexclusive version of the deal to the NFL for an informal review. The exact number isn’t known but the time limit on Harris’ exclusivity is estimated to be either 60 or 90 days. Seeing as the next scheduled owners’ meeting is far beyond that deadline, the special session becomes crucial.
So, to this point, Harris and the finance committee have come to an agreement as to what will make the deal acceptable. The finance committee will meet several more times virtually to ensure that things are on track and a vote will hopefully be taken in the next 60 days. The owners are reportedly eager to approve the deal and oust Snyder, but they need Harris to meet their demands. The finish line is coming more and more into focus with each report and seems just on the horizon.