Browns sold to Jimmy Haslam for reportedly more than $1 billion
Less than a week after initial reports that Browns owner Randy Lerner could give up controlling interest in the team and Jimmy Haslam could move "very quickly," that's exactly what has happened. CBSSports.com's Jason La Canfora confirms that the Browns' sale to Haslam, a Tennessee businessman, is now complete.
|The Browns have been sold. (Getty Images)|
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CBSSports.com's Jason La Canfora confirms that the Browns' sale to Haslam, a Tennessee businessman, is now complete. He notes that the move is subject to league approval, which will happen, but it will still require a formal vetting.
"The owners could vote on it later this month, and the latest it would receive formal approval would be the scheduled October fall meeting," La Canfora writes.
Said team president Mike Holmgren on Thursday: "It's an agreement that has been reached. Now the process moves from here to league protocol.
"Mr. Haslam is coming to town to speak [Friday]."
Less certain, however, is the future of Holmgren. Joe Banner, the former Eagles' president, will join Haslam in Cleveland although sources tell La Canfora that it's not a sure thing that he will reprise that role with the Browns. Even if he doesn't, Holmgren could be out, but again timing could be an issue. According to La Canfora, if Haslam is not formally approved until October than the likelihood of Holmgren sticking around at least through the 2012 season grows.
Holmgren isn't thinking about those possibilities.
"Honestly, my focus is to have guys here concentrating on football, making it business as usual," Holmgren said. "The what ifs and hypotheticals, I have to stay away from."
Meanwhile, league sources tell ESPN's Adam Schefter that the sale was in excess of $1 billion and consists of two parts: Haslam will assume controlling interest for more than $700 million, and he will later pay $300 million to complete the deal.
Haslam is the president and CEO of Pilot Flying-J based out of Knoxville, Tennessee. Since 2008, he's been a minority investor in the Pittsburgh Steelers. He admitted in a profile on the team's website that he had previously been a fan of the Cowboys and Colts but had become "1,000 percent a Steelers fan." We're guessing that will change.
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