The first round of the bidding process for the sale of all, some, or potentially none of the Washington Commanders closes at the end of this week, according to two sources with knowledge of the situation.
The Commanders announced Nov. 2 that Dan and Tanya Snyder had hired Bank of America Securities to "consider potential transactions." Though the team hasn't confirmed whether it's for part of the team or the entire franchise, league sources have indicated for weeks that it's likely for the entire team.
A Commanders spokesperson declined a request for comment Monday night.
League sources have estimated the full franchise would sell between $5.5 and $6.5 billion, far eclipsing the previous NFL record set by the Walton-Penner group when it purchased the Denver Broncos for $4.65 billion. Wise bidders would also need to have earmarked another $500 to $900 million to help fund a new stadium that would surely come following new ownership.
At the NFL league meetings last week in Texas, commissioner Roger Goodell said he doesn't know whether Snyder will sell the entire team.
"I don't have any expectations on that," Goodell said Wednesday. "Dan's statement that he put out said he was exploring that. And we will continue to work with him on that."
Mary Jo White, the former chairwoman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, continues her probe into Snyder and allegations of both sexual assault and financial improprieties with the team. The league has said there's no timetable for White's investigations to conclude. Snyder has denied allegations of wrongdoing.
The Washington Post reported last week that the investment bank was "moving forward with the process" for Snyder to consider offers.
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has expressed interest in the club, and he's thought to be partnering with Jay Z, according to sources. CBS Sports has previously reported Bezos' interest, as well as interest from Mat Ishbia, Joshua Harris and Byron Allen.
The Post reported that other bidders could include Clearlake Capital co-founders Behdad Eghbali and Jose E. Feliciano, as well as Todd L. Boehly.
Bezos has the deepest pockets of any interested bidder, plus a footprint in D.C. with his ownership of The Washington Post. But that exact ownership could stand in the way of Snyder ever selling to Bezos.
Any sale of the team — for part or all — would have to be approved by three-quarters of all NFL team owners.
The NFL has shown an interest recently in diversifying ownership groups. The Walton-Penner group is led by Wal Mart heirs and executives that needed no financial help to acquire the Broncos. Still, the group added limited partners including Condoleezza Rice and Mellody Hobson.
"The NFL member clubs support the important goal of increasing diversity among ownership," read a joint statement from all NFL teams in the spring. "Accordingly, when evaluating a prospective ownership group of a member club pursuant to League policies, the membership will regard it as a positive and meaningful factor if the group includes diverse individuals who would have a significant equity stake in and involvement with the club, including serving as the controlling owner of the club."