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  • Big Delay Expected In St. Louis Rams Sale

    Big delay expected in St. Louis Rams sale

    By Jim Thomas
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    04/14/2010


    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 team.

    But in March 1997, the cross-ownership policy was amended, in part adding the exceptions listed above:

    a.) His NFL club's home city.

    That sentence took care of Huizenga and the Dolphins, Panthers and Marlins.

    b.) A non-NFL city that is not a potential NFL city.

    That sentence took care of Allen and the Seahawks and Trail Blazers.

    But the policy wasn't changed on a whim. Huizenga's purchase of the Dolphins was approved in 1994 on the premise that if the league's cross-ownership policy wasn't changed by 1996, he would have to put the Dolphins up for sale.

    Well, the policy wasn't changed by '96, so NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue gave Huizenga a one-year extension. Finally, the cross-ownership policy was amended in '97. With 30 teams in the NFL at that time, 23 yes votes were needed to change the cross-ownership rule.

    It got 24 yes votes, barely passing, with Washington, Detroit, Chicago, Cincinnati and Buffalo voting no. Oakland abstained, so the final vote was 24-5-1. Newspaper reports at the time indicated that a key to getting the amended cross-ownership policy approved was Allen's promise to keep the Seahawks in Seattle if he got funding for a new stadium.

    (Allen's bid to buy the Seahawks was approved in June 1997.)

    Among the six clubs that did not vote yes in 1997, only Washington has a new owner today. The other five teams are still headed by the same family or individual. So it's quite possible that five of those "non-yes" votes wouldn't change if the league tries again to modify the cross-ownership rules to accommodate Kroenke, who owns the Denver Nuggets NBA team and the Colorado Avalanche NHL team.

    Which brings us to Bowlen. Although generally viewed as rivals in the Denver sports market, Bowlen and Kroenke once were partners (along with former Broncos quarterback John Elway) in an Arena Football League team. They currently are partners in a major-league lacrosse team.

    But those are small ventures compared to the "big four" of American professional sports: baseball, basketball, football and hockey. And Bowlen might not like the idea of Kroenke owning a controlling share of the Rams, and, in theory, using Rams dollars to help make the Nuggets and Avalanche more competitive in Denver.

    It takes only nine no votes among the current 32 NFL teams to scuttle a league vote. Although not as powerful as he once was in league affairs, Bowlen remains an influential team owner. Through a team spokesman, Bowlen declined to comment on the Kroenke bid, referring all questions to the NFL office.

    Of course, one possible out for Kroenke would be to simply transfer ownership of the Nuggets and Avalanche to a family member or business associate. Would that loophole be acceptable to the NFL?

    "That cannot be answered until our office and the finance committee review the details of the proposed transaction," Aiello said.

    Multiple sources familiar with Kroenke have indicated he is not interested in selling the Nuggets and Avalanche. His history as a businessman, whether it be a sports property or non-sports business, is as a buyer and a "keeper." He doesn't sell things once he buys them.

  • #2
    Re: Big Delay Expected In St. Louis Rams Sale

    So in other words Chippy-boy is setting the budget this year right?

    Wonderful.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Big Delay Expected In St. Louis Rams Sale

      I don't see this affecting us unless its spills over into the regular season. We've got a budget set aside for contracts, im sure they considered the expensive price tag of a first overall pick into that budget. Rams FO will just move on with business as usual as they should.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Big Delay Expected In St. Louis Rams Sale

        One thing stands out to me: Stan Kroenke's history indicates he's a very, very astute businessman. It is hard for this fan to imagine that he doesn't already know he'll win. He's had more than 60 days to ponder this scenario, and given his resources and moxie, I'd put my money on Stan being the next owner of the Rams.

        If this takes awhile, so be it .. It will have been worth the wait IMHO ..

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Big Delay Expected In St. Louis Rams Sale

          Originally posted by Bralidore(RAMMODE) View Post
          I don't see this affecting us unless its spills over into the regular season. We've got a budget set aside for contracts, im sure they considered the expensive price tag of a first overall pick into that budget. Rams FO will just move on with business as usual as they should.
          Do we have anything set aside for not-draft related acquisitions?

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Big Delay Expected In St. Louis Rams Sale

            The rams front office is not going to move ahead with "business as usual" no matter what they say publicly. The budget is not something that is set in stone. thats not the way the business world works. Businesses reforcast all the time.

            Bottom line. Expect a very very tight fist from chip until the sale is completed. There is no reason for him to lay out big up front money when he is not going to be around to reap any benefits. Sure, we will pay the guys from the draft, because he doesnt have much of a choice in that area, but expect very limited free agent involvement (ie older guys, short money) and limited ability to sign our own guys to big money long term deals. I am not saying that we wont pay money to anyone, just that it is going to be very tight fisted.

            The other potential impact we should be aware of is that if this drags on too long, i wonder how long spags decides to stay around. Not an immediate issue, but if this litigates, there is no telling how long it takes, because it could be years and during that time period, its likely to be a rough ride for rams fans. Its going to be harder to attract quality players as long as we have this uncertainty hanging around.

            Ramming speed to all

            general counsel

            Comment

            Related Topics

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            • Ramblin` Ram
              Khan seeks to join exclusive club
              by Ramblin` Ram
              Shahid Khan seeks to join exclusive club as owner of the St. Louis Rams

              BY JIM THOMAS
              ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
              03/21/2010

              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...
              -03-21-2010, 07:14 AM
            • 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
              Burwell: NFL Can Bend Cross-Ownership Rules For Stan Kroenke
              by r8rh8rmike
              NFL can bend cross-ownership rules for Stan Kroenke

              By Bryan Burwell
              ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
              04/14/2010


              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
            • sosa39rams
              Kroenke's Approved
              by sosa39rams
              ST. LOUIS, MO. – E. Stanley Kroenke has become the majority owner of the St. Louis Rams, the National Football League announced today. The decision was made by a vote by the league’s owners at a meeting in Atlanta this morning. Kroenke will become the seventh majority owner in the team’s 73-year history.

              “Stan has been a familiar and respected figure in the National Football League for more than 15 years,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. “He is a proven businessman and has experienced success in all of his sports franchises, as well as serving as a responsible community leader. We look forward to him continuing to uphold the goals and values of the NFL as he becomes the majority owner of the St. Louis Rams.”

              Prior to becoming the majority owner of the Rams, Kroenke was the minority owner of the team. He was vital in the effort to bring professional football back to St. Louis in 1995. With his real estate development expertise, Kroenke was instrumental in the building of Rams Park, now known as the Russell Training Center.

              “We are delighted with today’s vote by NFL owners. It is one of the very high points of our long association with the NFL,” Kroenke said. “We look forward to working with our fellow owners and Commissioner Goodell as the transaction is finalized and in the years ahead.

              "The Rosenbloom family deserves our thanks for all their efforts on behalf of a great football organization and a great city.

              “Building organizations that win consistently is a challenge that we understand. We are excited about the opportunity as principal owner of the St. Louis Rams.”

              “Fifteen years ago, my family entered a partnership with Stan Kroenke and it has been a wonderful relationship,” said Chip Rosenbloom. “Although today is an emotional day and the end of an era for or family, it is also the beginning of a new chapter in the rich history of the St. Louis Rams. We look forward to Stan continuing the great tradition of the organization. On behalf of my sister Lucia and our entire family, we congratulate Stan and the Kroenke family on becoming the majority owner of the Rams.”

              Kroenke currently is the owner of the Colorado Avalanche (NHL), Denver Nuggets (NBA), the Colorado Rapids (MLS) and the Colorado Mammoth (NLL). He is also the largest shareholder of Arsenal FC of the English Premier League.

              The Pepsi Center in Denver, also owned by Kroenke, hosted the 2001 NHL All-Star game and the 2005 NBA All-Star game. This facility also played host to the 2008 Democratic National Convention. In 2004, Kroenke launched the Altitude Sports & Entertainment television network. The 24-hour regional sports network is home to the Nuggets, Avalanche and the Mammoth.

              Kroenke’s extensive business interests include serving as chairman and owner of The Kroenke Group, a private real estate investment and development company...
              -08-25-2010, 09:05 AM
            • MauiRam
              Will Kroenke make a sweetheart deal?
              by MauiRam
              By Jim Thomas
              ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
              04/18/2010

              Stan Kroenke's attempt to finesse the NFL cross-ownership rules may not involve a transfer of hockey and basketball teams in Denver to his family. But rather a sale — to his wife, Ann.

              According to a couple of league sources that tactic could be Kroenke's best hope of getting the NFL to approve his attempt to purchase the 60 percent of the Rams currently up for sale by siblings Chip Rosenbloom and Lucia Rodriguez.

              As wealthy as Kroenke is, he comes in second place at home. At $2.9 billion, he was ranked No. 342 on Forbes' most recent annual list of world billionaires. His wife, Ann, heiress to much of the Wal-Mart fortune, was ranked No. 297 at $3.2 billion.

              So what happens if Ann Walton Kroenke "simply" writes a check for the Denver Nuggets NBA team and the Colorado Avalanche NHL team? How does the NFL react to that?

              "Independent wealth means a lot," one league source said.

              And that's what Ann Walton Kroenke has.

              So at face value, that option might be more palatable to league owners than having Kroenke simply transfer ownership of the Nuggets or Avalanche to some combination of his wife, his son, Josh, or daughter, Whitney.

              When asked if that would be an acceptable path, NFL senior vice president Greg Aiello replied: "I can't answer that question. It's not my question to answer. That's something that has to be decided by NFL ownership. And right now, they can't answer that because they don't know what he's proposing."

              Even those close to Kroenke believe Kroenke has yet to decide on a precise path to finesse the cross-ownership rules.

              But one avenue seems definitely closed: selling the Denver teams to an outsider. Whether it's sports properties or other business properties, Kroenke's history has been as a buyer and a keeper — not a seller of assets. And because he also owns the building the Nuggets and Avalanche play in — the Pepsi Center — it has proved to be a profitable setup.

              If Kroenke sold the Nuggets and Avalanche to his wife, it appears he could maintain ownership of the Pepsi Center. There's nothing in the NFL's cross-ownership rules that would prevent him from keeping the venue. So that would make the purchase cheaper for his wife.

              In 2000, just a few months after the St. Louis Rams defeated Tennessee in Super Bowl XXXIV, Kroenke purchased 93.5 percent of the Avalanche, Nuggets and Pepsi Center. The overall value of those assets at the time was $450 million.

              It is a violation of the NFL's cross-ownership rules for Kroenke to own the Nuggets and Avalanche once he has controlling interest in the Rams. Kroenke already owns 40 percent of the Rams; he will own the full 100 percent of the team if he's successful in his bid to buy Rosenbloom's and Rodriguez's 60...
              -04-18-2010, 12:20 PM
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