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  • Khan seeks to join exclusive club

    Shahid Khan seeks to join exclusive club as owner of the St. Louis Rams


    By the end of May at the latest, Shahid Khan will learn whether he has gained admission into one of the wealthiest, most exclusive and, at the same time, most eclectic clubs in America as one of the 32 controlling owners of a National Football League team.

    "It is kind of a strange group," said a league insider. "Very strange. You know the group."

    It's a group that will convene Monday in Orlando, Fla., for the NFL's annual owners meetings, where Khan's bid to buy the Rams will be one of the items discussed.

    Among the exclusive club of owners, there's the old guard, such as the Halas/McCaskey family, which has been involved with what is now the Chicago Bears since the inception of the NFL in 1920.

    The Mara family founded the New York Giants in 1925, when Tim Mara (who was a bookmaker, among other things) and partner Billy Gibson bought the team for $500. The Maras have owned all or part of the franchise ever since.

    The Cardinals franchise, now based in Arizona and led by the shy Bill Bidwill, has been in the Bidwill family since 1932. In Pittsburgh, the Rooney family founded the Steelers with a $2,500 purchase on July 8, 1933.

    In Oakland, age is catching up with one of the league's all-time mavericks, Al Davis. He shows up for league meetings wearing either an all-white or all-black workout suit, now needing the use of a walker to get around. Then there's the frugal Mike Brown of Cincinnati, son of the late Paul Brown, a legendary coach and owner.

    There's also a new group of owners who entered the league beginning with the last wave of expansion in 1995. Wayne Weaver of the Jacksonville Jaguars made his money in shoes, rising through the ranks of the St. Louis-based Brown Group Inc. Paul Allen of the Seattle Seahawks co-founded Microsoft with Bill Gates in 1976.

    The Philadelphia Eagles' Jeffrey Lurie once was an assistant professor at Boston University. Steve Tisch, who owns half the New York Giants (the Mara family still owns the other half), may be the only person on the planet with a Super Bowl ring and an Academy Award (as co-producer of "Forrest Gump").

    Many of the owners inherited their fortunes. Some made theirs from humble beginnings. After Arthur Blank and friend Bernie Marcus were fired by the Handy Dan home-improvement chain in California in 1978, they opened a couple of similar stores in 1979. Thirteen-hundred Home Depot stores later, Blank bought the Atlanta Falcons in 2002.

    Maryland businessman Steve Bisciotti was only 39 when he bought 49 percent of the Baltimore Ravens in 2000. (He purchased an additional 50 percent of the team four years later.) When he opened his first business, the staffing company Aerotek, with cousin Jim Davis not long out of college, their office consisted of two used desks purchased from Goodwill and an orange shag rug held together by duct tape in the basement of a rented townhouse in Annapolis.

    When it comes to living out the American dream, Khan, an Urbana, Ill., billionaire, should fit right in. A native of Pakistan, Khan arrived in the United States at age 16. He used his industrial engineering degree from the University of Illinois in 1971 to develop a one-piece automobile bumper with no seams to rust.

    It became the industry standard and allowed Khan to buy the auto parts manufacturing company (Flex-N-Gate) that he once worked for and go global.

    Khan already knows several NFL owners, Detroit's Bill Ford and Chicago's Michael McCaskey among them.

    "At this level, they generally know a lot about who this person is, I think just by business connections," said the league insider, who did not want to be identified. "I mean, there aren't all that many billionaires in the country."

    While Khan's bid to buy controlling interest in the Rams will be discussed at the owners meetings this week, by no means will it be a major topic of conversation. At least not yet.

    The NFL's finance committee, as part of its normal report to the full league membership, will provide a brief update on the Rams' ownership situation.

    Since Khan entered into a sale agreement Feb. 12 to buy 60 percent of the Rams from majority owners Chip Rosenbloom and Lucia Rodriguez, there have been several developments:

    Various league staff workers have commenced the evaluation of the proposed sale, and recently briefed the finance committee on the status of the transaction.

    Khan's background is being investigated to make sure he has no felonies, no gambling ties, in short, no red flags in terms of character.

    Forensic accountants and/or investment bankers are vetting Khan's net worth to make sure he has the money to pull this off. His 60 percent purchase is based on an overall Rams franchise value of $750 million.

    Most important, Khan has met on several occasions with Stan Kroenke, who owns 40 percent of the Rams. A league source familiar with the sale said Khan and Kroenke are getting to know each other. "I think they both like each other," the source said.

    That is important because at the moment Kroenke remains the wild card in the Khan purchase. Once Khan entered into the sale agreement, Kroenke was given 60 days to declare his intentions.

    Kroenke could "cash out," deciding to sell his 40 percent of the team.

    He could simply stand pat, keeping his 40 percent as Khan goes forward with his 60 percent purchase.

    Or Kroenke could try to exercise a right of first refusal and attempt to buy 100 percent of the team.

    But since entering into a purchase agreement with late owner Georgia Frontiere in 1995, Kroenke has bought the NBA's Denver Nuggets and the NHL's Colorado Avalanche. Current NFL cross-ownership rules prohibit a majority, or controlling, NFL owner from also owning major-league baseball, basketball or hockey teams in competing NFL markets.

    All indications are that Kroenke will stand pat at 40 percent. But until his intentions become official, there's only so much for league owners to discuss. There can be no final transaction agreement for the NFL finance committee to investigate and approve until it is known whether Khan ends up purchasing 60 percent or 100 percent of the team.

    Similarly, Khan must appear before the finance committee to answer any questions that it might have for him. But again, that can't happen until Kroenke declares and the final transaction agreement is in place. Kroenke's 60-day window to make a decision expires on or around April 12.

    Once Kroenke declares, it's expected it will take about another month to close the sale, have the finance committee recommend the sale for approval to the full league ownership, and then have three-fourths of the league's 32 teams vote in favor of the sale. That could push things into May, and at the latest to the NFL's spring owners meetings May 24-26 in Dallas.

    And it's at that time when Khan will know for sure whether he'll be welcomed in as the newest member of one of the nation's most exclusive clubs.

Related Topics


  • RamFan_Til_I_Die
    Rams sale to top agenda for owners meeting
    by RamFan_Til_I_Die
    ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Stan Kroenke has never been much for publicity, maintaining a low profile as the minority owner of the St. Louis Rams the last 15 years.

    Now the 63-year-old Missouri billionaire is making waves, challenging the NFL's rule against cross ownership with a bid to take full control of the team in a move that would give him at least a majority stake in a fifth professional sports franchise.

    Enos Stanley Kroenke, named after Cardinals baseball Hall of Famers Stan Musial and Enos Slaughter, has earned the nickname Silent Stanley.

    He rarely uses his office on the second floor at the Rams Park complex and there have been no Kroenke sightings during training camp, no appearances to gauge the downtrodden team's progress.

    "Stan's been focused on his end of the process and I've been focused on here," second-year coach Steve Spagnuolo said.

    The chain of command calls for Kroenke to relay any concerns to the brother-sister ownership team of Chip Rosenbloom and Lucia Rodriguez.

    "With Chip, on any major decision or anything we're going to do, he's very hands on," general manager Billy Devaney said.

    The owners meet in Atlanta on Wednesday to discuss expanding the season and issues with the collective bargaining agreement. But the big topic in the one-day meeting will be the bid by Kroenke to purchase the remaining 60 percent of the team, and add to his franchise collection.

    None of the principals involved in the sale has said much beyond prepared statements the last several months. The price has widely been reported at $750 million, no matter that the franchise has been staggeringly inept with a 6-42 record the last three years.

    In a statement issued in June, Kroenke said he planned to keep ownership of the NBA's Denver Nuggets and NHL's Colorado Avalanche in the family if he gains full control of the Rams. The most likely way he would dodge the NFL's rule against owning more than one professional franchise is by handing off his other franchises to family members.

    The Nuggets are restructuring the front office after declining to extend the contracts of executives Mark Warkentien and Rex Chapman. That could mean a larger role for Kroenke's son Josh, a former Missouri basketball player.

    Maybe a much larger role. Such a transfer would have to be approved by the NBA board of governors.

    Rosenbloom and Rodriguez inherited the franchise from the late Georgia Frontiere and are selling because of inheritance tax issues.

    They also are keeping really quiet.

    "I really can't comment on anything right now," Rosenbloom said in an e-mail to the Associated Press. "I am happy to talk with you on other subjects, though."

    Asked to discuss the team's progress in training camp, Rosenbloom said that would have...
    -08-20-2010, 03:48 PM
  • r8rh8rmike
    Big Delay Expected In St. Louis Rams Sale
    by r8rh8rmike
    Big delay expected in St. Louis Rams sale

    By Jim Thomas

    Whether Stan Kroenke is successful in his bid to purchase the 60 percent share of the St. Louis Rams franchise currently up for sale could depend on two factors:

    How strongly does the league want to maintain what's left of its cross-ownership policy?

    Where does Denver Broncos owner Pat Bowlen stand on the issue?

    In any event, don't expect a quick resolution to the sale process now that Kroenke has exercised his right of first refusal. In essence, that gives him the right to match Shahid Kahn's bid to purchase the 60 percent share currently held by siblings Chip Rosenbloom and Lucia Rodriguez.

    Even though he already owns 40 percent of the Rams, Kroenke must begin an application process to purchase the remaining 60 percent and must send in related paperwork to the NFL. League sources told the Post-Dispatch on Tuesday that it could be "several weeks" before the league has all the documents needed to begin evaluating Kroenke's bid.

    And NFL Vice President Greg Aiello said the entire process could take several months before the league votes on Kroenke's bid, although he added that there is no precise timetable.

    Had Kroenke simply decided to stand pat with his 40 percent share, while Khan went forward with his bid to purchase the remaining 60 percent, there were some indications from involved parties that the sale might have been concluded in May. That no longer appears to be possible, keeping in mind that even NFL owners and league staff members take some vacation time over the summer.

    But at the core of the issue is the NFL's cross-ownership policy, which states as follows:

    "No person who owns a majority interest in or has direct or indirect operating control of an NFL member club may own or acquire any interest in a club in another major team sport (baseball, basketball, and hockey) except for a club located in a.) His NFL club's home city, or b.) A non-NFL city that is not a potential NFL city."

    There was a time when the league's cross-ownership policy was considerably more wide-ranging. But in a court battle that began in the late 1970s and spilled over into the early 1980s, the NFL was unsuccessful in its attempt to prevent then-Kansas City Chiefs owner Lamar Hunt and then-Miami Dolphins owner Joe Robbie from owning teams in the North American Soccer League.

    Another softening of the cross-ownership policy occurred in the 1990s when H. Wayne Huizenga purchased the Miami Dolphins and Paul Allen purchased the Seattle Seahawks. At the time, Huizenga owned the Florida Marlins major-league baseball team and Florida Panthers National Hockey League team both based in Miami. Allen owned the Portland Trail Blazers National Basketball Association...
    -04-13-2010, 08:35 PM
  • MauiRam
    Kroenke plays it close to the vest ..
    by MauiRam

    ORLANDO, FLA. The day's business concluded, Stan Kroenke walked out of the NFL owners' meeting room Monday evening with Rams senior consultant John Shaw at his side.

    About the last person Kroenke wanted to see in this venue was a reporter. He has always been what's best described as media shy and that's particularly the case now that Urbana, Ill., businessman Shahid Khan has entered into an agreement to purchase controlling interest in the Rams.

    So what will Stan do? Buy, sell or stand pat? Kroenke didn't tip his hand Monday, saying he continues to consider his options.

    "We're all talking about our different approaches here, trying to come up with the best approach for everyone involved, I think," Kroenke said.

    He also indicated that he will take the full 60 days, or very close to it, to decide what to do.

    "I think that it's prudent to think through your options," Kroenke said. "These are big decisions. We're going to try to do the right thing."

    Kroenke said he really couldn't say anything more until the process plays itself out.

    Kroenke currently owns 40 percent of the Rams. He can decide to:

    Stand pat and maintain his 40 percent share of the Rams.

    "Cash out" and sell his 40 percent share.

    Exercise his right of first refusal, in essence matching Khan's offer for the team.

    In reality, Kroenke probably has only two options: maintain his 40 percent share or sell it. Because in pretty strong language Monday, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell indicated that the league wasn't inclined to bend its cross-ownership rules to allow Kroenke to match Khan's offer.

    "Let's cross that bridge when we get to it," Goodell said. "But I don't think so. I think everyone understands we're going to respect our policies and make sure we treat everyone the same.

    "We have great respect for Stan, and he has to make some choices. But he also understands the league wants to continue to have policies that we think are beneficial to the league in general and fair to all 32 clubs."

    The cross-ownership rule prevents owning a controlling share in an NFL team in one market while owning majority interest in another major-league team (baseball, basketball, hockey) in a competing NFL city.

    Kroenke owns the Denver Nuggets of the National Basketball Association and the Colorado Avalanche of the National Hockey League.

    As part of Khan's Rams sale agreement Feb. 12, Kroenke has 60 days to declare his intentions with respect to Rams ownership. April 12 is three weeks away, so the time for making a decision is drawing near.

    The "vetting" of Khan and the entire sales...
    -03-23-2010, 09:50 AM
  • r8rh8rmike
    Burwell: NFL Can Bend Cross-Ownership Rules For Stan Kroenke
    by r8rh8rmike
    NFL can bend cross-ownership rules for Stan Kroenke

    By Bryan Burwell

    Because 15 years worth of history has conditioned us to expect an endless supply of soap opera silliness, unpredictable cloak-and-dagger intrigue and mind-numbing misfortune with just about everything at Rams Park, I'm still not quite sure why none of us anticipated this wild throw from left field.

    It is the Rams we're talking about, so how else could a so-called streamlined, by-the-numbers sale of the franchise go but whirling into a shocking Barbarians at the Gate tailspin?

    OK, this is not quite as contentious as that notorious business deal, but oh, boy, it sure is starting to have that sort of provocative feel. Minority owner Stan Kroenke's bold attempt to take over 100 percent control of the Rams is being played out on the sports pages, but it could end up on the pages of The Wall Street Journal or maybe even a tantalizing made-for-TV screenplay as time goes on.

    This 11th hour move by Kroenke was a quintessential, big-time high-finance power play, but we'll just have to wait a little longer to see what else the multibillionaire has up his sleeves. Was this a stroke of pure strategic genius, a ruthless act of conspicuous consumption, or does Kroenke's business mind really work so many steps ahead of the rest of us that we're automatically conditioned to come up with Machiavellian motivations and miss the simplest one of all: Does Stan just want to be a full-fledged member of America's most exclusive billionaire sports lovers' club, NFL ownership?

    Looking at his business history, Kroenke has carefully built his $2.9 billion empire in real estate and by collecting professional sports franchises like we get fancy watches. He has at various times owned one of each in the NBA and NHL (Denver Nuggets and Colorado Avalanche respectively), professional soccer (Colorado Rapids and Arsenal), major league lacrosse (Colorado Mammoth) and a 40 percent stake in the Rams for the last 15 years.

    And now he's decided that he wants more. And now he's asking the NFL, which supposedly has plenty of rules standing in his way, to do what it has done quite a few times in the past.

    Bend its rules to accommodate a good friend.

    NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has already told everyone that the rules on cross-ownership won't be bent for Kroenke or anyone else. Rules are rules, the commish says, and since we have rules, well, we have to actually abide by them.

    And for the most part, that's true, except when it isn't.

    The NFL used to have a rule that prohibited its owners from owning any other franchise in another professional league.

    And then they changed that.

    And then it had a rule that said you could only do cross-ownership as long as it was in the...
    -04-13-2010, 08:27 PM
  • 39thebeast
    WOAH New Kronke info
    by 39thebeast
    St. Louis, MO ( - FOX2's Sports Director Martin Kilcoyne has been digging into Kroenke's bid to buy the Rams.

    Stan Kroenke wants to be an NFL Owner and always has. And so, he maybe just that. It appears he may not have to ask the NFL Owners to change the rule on cross sport ownership in competing NFL markets.

    FOX2 has learned that Kroenke is prepared to mover the NBA Denver Nuggets and NHL Colorado Avalanche ownership from his name to another family member's name; allowing Kroenke to buy the remaining 60% in Rams shares from Chip Rosenbloom and Lucia Rodriguez. Kroenke has own a 40% stake in the Rams since they arrive in St. Louis.

    Kroenke did make an offer to the Rosenbloom's last fall in an attempt to purchase the Rams, but the offer was rejected as being to low. But since that offer, Kroenke has put together a group of investors that is willing to put up the money to buy the remaining shares for the St. Louis Rams.

    With these pieces in place, Kroenke could out bid Shahid Khan for ownership of the Rams at the next NFL Owners meeting set in Dallas on May 24th-26th.
    -04-13-2010, 07:10 PM