Steelers minority owner is reportedly the front-runner to buy the Carolina Panthers

A billionaire hedge-fund manager who already owns part of an NFL team has apparently emerged as a front-runner to buy the Carolina Panthers

According to NFL.com, David Tepper is currently the 'leader in the clubhouse' on the short list of people who might end up buying the team. With a net worth of roughly $11 billion, Tepper has more than enough money to become the next owner of the Panthers. The 60-year-old billionaire has been an NFL owner since 2009, when he bought a 5 percent stake in the Pittsburgh Steelers

Tepper made his money as the founder of Appaloosa Management, an $11 billion hedge-fund investment firm that he started in 1993. 

Although it's unclear how much it will cost to buy the Panthers, CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora reported that the franchise will probably sell for somewhere around $2 billion. The last NFL team to go up for sale, the Buffalo Bills, sold for $1.4 billion in 2014

Tepper might be the front-runner, but there's still a lot to be done before the sale of the team would actually go through. First, 24 of 32 NFL owners would have to approve the sale. If the owners approved Tepper, he then would have to sell his 5 percent stake in the Steelers so that he could move forward with his purchase of the Panthers. 

The Panthers have been up for sale since the end of the 2017 season. Owner Jerry Richardson announced in December that he would be selling the team following allegations of workplace misconduct. Richardson is currently being investigated by the NFL and has pretty much stayed out of the spotlight since the allegations became public following the publication of a Sports Illustrated story on December 17. 

In the story from SI, the magazine reported that several Panthers employees had complained about Richardson over a variety of things. Among them, Richardson allegedly inappropriately touched female employees and asked women whether or not he could shave their legs. He would also allegedly offer to give them foot rubs. Richardson also allegedly used a racial slur against at least a former team scout who's no longer with the Panthers.

As for Tepper, if he gets approved to purchase the team, he would be the second Steelers minority owner in six years to buy a team. Before purchasing the Browns in 2012, Cleveland owner Jimmy Haslam also owned a small stake in the Steelers. 

Besides Tepper, South Carolina businessman Ben Navarro is also believed to be interested in bidding on the Panthers. 

CBS Sports Writer

John Breech has been at CBS Sports since July 2011 and currently spends most of his time writing about the NFL. He's believed to be one of only three people in the world who thinks that Andy Dalton will... Full Bio

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