Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon and owner of The Washington Post, has hired Allen & Company, a New York-based investment firm, to consider a possible bid for the Washington Commanders, according to two anonymous sources familiar with the situation.
The move represents a clear sign of Bezos’ interest in conducting due diligence and potentially moving forward in the process. It is still uncertain if Bezos will make an offer to purchase the NFL team from its owner, Daniel Snyder.
Allen & Company is well known for its transactions involving professional sports franchises and has handled the two most recent sales of NFL teams. It managed the sale of the Carolina Panthers in 2018 for $2.275 billion and the Denver Broncos in 2020 for $4.65 billion, the record sale price for an NFL team.
Snyder and his wife, Tanya, the co-CEO of the Commanders, hired Bank of America in November 2020 to consider possible transactions involving the team. The franchise has not confirmed whether the Snyders will sell all or part of it, but four sources familiar with the process believe that the most likely outcome is the sale of the entire franchise.
One potential buyer, Josh Harris, the co-founder of Apollo Global Management, visited the Commanders’ facility this month, according to two anonymous sources. Harris, who has an estimated net worth of $6.3 billion, attempted to purchase the Denver Broncos last year.
Several groups submitted initial bids to purchase the Commanders before a late-December target requested by Bank of America, according to one source familiar with the process.
Bezos did not participate in that stage of the bidding. However, since the Snyders’ announcement in November, all interested parties have acknowledged that Bezos’ net worth, estimated at $118.8 billion by Forbes, would enable him to outbid all competitors.
The Commanders sale process is ongoing while the NFL conducts its second investigation of Snyder and the team’s workplace. This investigation is led by attorney Mary Jo White, and the U.S. attorney’s office for the Eastern District of Virginia is also investigating allegations of financial improprieties involving the team.
Any proposed sale of the Commanders would require ratification by at least three-quarters of the NFL’s team owners.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell commented on the situation during Super Bowl week, saying that the Commanders are under a process and if they reach a conclusion and have a buyer, the ownership group will look at it.
Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay has suggested that owners should consider voting to remove Snyder from ownership.