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Broncos have ownership bid in place for a record $4.65 billion

Dec 22, 2019; Denver, Colorado, USA; Detroit Lions owner Martha Ford (L) talks with Denver Broncos president Joe Ellis (R) before the game at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The Denver Broncos appear set to be sold for a sports-franchise record $4.65 billion, according to multiple media reports.

As expected, the Walton-Penner family — led by Walmart heir Rob Walton — has made the winning bid. The Walton-Penner family and the Pat Bowlen Trust have entered into a purchase and sale agreement, it was jointly announced Tuesday.

The specific amount of the record-setting transaction was reported Tuesday by various media outlets.

This would be the highest price paid for an American sports franchise, topping the $3.2 billion paid for the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets in 2019. It would also be more than double the most recent sale price of an NFL team as the Carolina Panthers were sold for $2.275 billion in 2018.

Forbes valued the Broncos at $3.75 billion in 2021, estimating it at No. 10 on the list of NFL franchise valuation.

Earlier this month, Forbes identified other bidders as Josh Harris, who is part of the ownership group of the Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Devils; Jose E. Feliciano, one of the founders of Clearlake Capital; and mortgage lender Mat Ishbia.

Walton, 77, has a net worth of $65 billion and is the 19th-richest person in the world, per Forbes. The Walmart fortune is so vast that his siblings, Alice and Jim, also are among the world’s 20 richest people on Forbes’ list of billionaires.

If the Walton sale goes through, Rob Walton would become the second NFL owner from the extended Walton family. Ann Walton Kroenke, who is Walton’s cousin, is married to Stan Kroenke, owner of the Los Angeles Rams.

“We are thrilled to be selected to move forward with the purchase of the Denver Broncos!” Rob Walton said on behalf of the ownership group. “Carrie (Walton-Penner), Greg (Penner) and I are inspired by the opportunity to steward this great organization in a vibrant community full of opportunity and passionate fans.”

“While this purchase and sale agreement is pending approval from the NFL’s finance committee and league ownership,” said Broncos CEO Joe Ellis, “today marks a significant step on the path to an exciting new chapter in Broncos history.”

–Field Level Media