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Browns' sale nears
July 27, 2012 - Mike McLain
BEREA – The Browns are for sale, but concerns about the franchise moving out of Cleveland were put to rest by team president Mike Holmgren. “It’s my understanding from the get-go that that’s been one of the stipulations and both principals understand that the Cleveland Browns aren’t going anywhere,” Holmgren said. “The Browns are the Cleveland Browns, and they’re going to stay.” It’s been speculated for several months that Browns owner Randy Lerner planned to sell the franchise that his late father, Al, purchased in 1999. With more reports surfacing in recent days, Lerner sent an email statement to the media Friday. “In connection with current rumors and press inquiries, I can report that I’ve been approached by Mr. Jimmy Haslam, who is interested in making an investment in the Cleveland Browns,” Lerner said. “We are currently in negotiations and both sides have agreed to keep that dialogue and its details private. Given that any transaction would require League approval, care has been taken so that this process will not be disruptive to the organization, in particular the football team, as it prepares for the upcoming season. We will share further details or make an announcement if it becomes necessary.” According to Holmgren, Haslam would purchase a majority interest in the Browns, who were valued at $977 million by Forbes magazine. The Browns are the world’s 30th ranked sports team in net worth. “What I can say is he (Lerner) is giving up a controlling interest,” Holmgren said. No timetable has been established for the sale. It’s also been reported that Haslam, who’s CEO of Pilot Flying J, and perhaps other investors will eventually purchase the remaining shares owned by the Lerner family. Haslam’s father James founded Pilot Corporation, which operates convenience stores and travel centers throughout the United States and Canada.
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