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  • St. Louis Rams' Hands Are Tied Pending Sale

    St. Louis Rams' hands are tied pending sale

    By Bryan Burwell

    Watching billionaire minority owner Stan Kroenke go through the latest machinations in his effort to acquire 100 percent control of your St. Louis Rams makes me understand that apparently filthy rich men are no different from the rest of us when it comes to the American male's obsession with acquiring "stuff," even if that "stuff" just happens to be an $800 million NFL franchise.

    Yet Kroenke seems to be turning the relatively simple task of buying the Rams into a convoluted adventure that reminds me of a gluttonous kid who rolls into the candy store with a fistful of dollars but can't quite figure out how he will be able to haul out all the jellybeans, maltballs and Twizzlers he just bought, even though all he has to do is just hand his half-eaten sandwich and half-empty soda pop to his salivating baby brother.

    Enough already. Just buy the darned team, will ya?

    Kroenke has enough money to own just about anything he wants twice over, but for some reason he seems to have a hard time getting this deal done. This could have been done two years ago when Chip Rosenbloom and Lucia Rodriguez first inherited the Rams from their mother, Georgia Frontiere. But Stan sat back and waited until someone else expressed interest in the team, came in at the 11th hour, blocked Shahid Khan's ownership bid, then spent the last few weeks bobbing and weaving his way around the NFL's prohibition on cross-ownership of pro franchises.

    So now we learn that Kroenke's latest plan to circumvent the rules involves trying to pass the check over to his filthier rich wife, Ann, even though the chance of that flying through the NFL's scrutiny without dispute seems to be unlikely. The NFL has already balked at granting Kroenke any favors on the cross-ownership front and now indicates it won't rule on his ownership efforts later this month, which means the process could drag on all summer or even longer.

    And you know what that means, don't you?

    Kroenke's plans are botching up the already daunting task of rebuilding this moribund franchise.

    No matter how much general manager Billy Devaney and team president Kevin Demoff swear that they have not been hamstrung by the ownership being in limbo, we have to know better. Our own Jim Thomas has said that he's had several conversations with agents who have been told by Rams officials that they can't get business done on the free agent marketplace because they don't have the cash to make deals.

    No matter how much Rosenbloom says that he hasn't put the clamps down on spending, think about it. If you were selling a house, how much would you be willing to spend beyond the most superficial improvements?

    So now might be a good time for NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to step in and make his move. Either approve Kroenke in a hurry or tell him no and let Shahid Khan complete his own deal. The longer Goodell waits, the harder it is for the Rams football people to improve the on-field product and for the marketing people to sell the product to the ticket-buying public.

    I fear what will happen if Devaney and Demoff can't aggressively compete for the best players who come on the the veteran marketplace this summer with a reluctant owner who is trying to get out of the football business.

    Goodell keeps saying that the cross-ownership rules are there for a good reason, though for the life of me I can't see what that reason might be in these times. Kroenke has already been a 40 percent shareholder for nearly two decades. So why would anything change if he picked up an additional 60 percent?

    The cross-ownership rules have been changed several times to accommodate specific cases that worked to the advantage of the NFL's best interests, so I guess all that we need to do is establish why bending them this time would be good for the league, too.

    So let me help you with that, Roger.

    Reason No.1 : Have you seen Kroenke's checkbook? He and his wife are among the richest folks on the planet. You need folks like that in the fraternity. Kroenke has the sort of wealth that would allow him to be a Jerry Jones type, an aggressive businessman who could stake out on his own to build a new modern football palace in St. Louis out of his own pockets (of course with the right sweetheart land deals and tax abatements to enhance his already dynamic real estate empire).

    Reason No. 2: He's said he will keep the team in St. Louis (though not without a little public prodding). That is a very good thing to us here.

    Reason No. 3: If you slip this deal through and let Stan buy the team, it might avoid a potential nasty entanglement with Mr. Khan, the guy who is still standing in the wings with his checkbook wide open and is not the least bit happy about Kroenke trying to pull a fast one by handing over the purchase of the team to his wife. In case you haven't heard, Stan has the right of first refusal on the purchase of the Rams, not Ann Kroenke.

    If I were Khan, I wouldn't let the Ann Kroenke sale go through without a fight, and I might even return the favor to Kroenke by now attempting to "greenmail" him.

    You want the Rams that bad and want me to go away?

    Fine, here's my price. Yes, that's eight zeroes behind the one.

    One thing I've learned over the past few weeks is that this game Kroenke and Khan are involved in is a full-contact, rugged, mixed financial art.

    Last guy holding his checkbook wins.

  • #2
    Re: St. Louis Rams' Hands Are Tied Pending Sale



    • #3
      Re: St. Louis Rams' Hands Are Tied Pending Sale

      Originally posted by AvengerRam


      Ever need to say anything more...

      What you see is what you get, but what you see depends on where you stand.


      • #4
        Re: St. Louis Rams' Hands Are Tied Pending Sale

        I agree the article is bad news, unfortunately, it sounds an awful lot like the statements i have been posting for weeks on this. Bottom line, no matter what anyone says about operating budgets and business as usual, chip isnt likely to lay out cash for anything that he doesnt absolutely have to (as per any other sale transaction of this nature). The longer this drags on, the worse it will be for the rams and the longer it will take to rebuild.

        ramming speed to all

        general counsel


        • #5
          Re: St. Louis Rams' Hands Are Tied Pending Sale

          Originally posted by AvengerRam

          Somewhere, Bernie is smiling and feeling a bit more at ease.


          • #6
            Re: St. Louis Rams' Hands Are Tied Pending Sale

            I can't believe how bad an article that was. What was the point of writing that?


            • #7
              Re: St. Louis Rams' Hands Are Tied Pending Sale

              I'm not really sure what is so bad about the article. ?

              Anyway, I agree. This limbo owner period is nothing but bad for the Rams being able to move forward in a competitive way.
              The Rams... Where dreams go to die.


              • #8
                Re: St. Louis Rams' Hands Are Tied Pending Sale

                Originally posted by general counsel
                I agree the article is bad news, unfortunately, it sounds an awful lot like the statements i have been posting for weeks on this. Bottom line, no matter what anyone says about operating budgets and business as usual, chip isnt likely to lay out cash for anything that he doesnt absolutely have to (as per any other sale transaction of this nature). The longer this drags on, the worse it will be for the rams and the longer it will take to rebuild.
                The sale price has already been negotiated and any contract would be paid out almost exclusively AFTER the sale is complete. What would Chip's motivation be? Are you saying he's over ruling the front office people to make the team worse rather than better when he leaves?


                • #9
                  Re: St. Louis Rams' Hands Are Tied Pending Sale

                  Originally posted by RebelYell
                  The sale price has already been negotiated and any contract would be paid out almost exclusively AFTER the sale is complete. What would Chip's motivation be? Are you saying he's over ruling the front office people to make the team worse rather than better when he leaves?
                  Chip learned from the best on how to screw your fans and your state. LOL.
                  It sucks, I know.


                  • #10
                    Re: St. Louis Rams' Hands Are Tied Pending Sale

                    The lack of a owner IMO is just making our FO more wary of slinging cash and more shrewd when negotiating contracts to get the best deal. They have an adequate budget to sign guys but they aren't on a Jerry Jones budget obviously and it would be foolish of them not to pinch pennies (to a degree..) with the situation. By no means do I think this is affecting us as bad as everyone thinks.

                    We won't fall off a mountain in the downtime between owners and expect us to pick up some more guys who shake loose on waivers....


                    Related Topics


                    • MauiRam
                      Rams minority owner is not to be trusted ..
                      by MauiRam
                      Sports Columnist Bryan Burwell

                      ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH

                      I know big business is supposed to be a rough-and-tumble contact sport, but wow, does it have to be like this?

                      Every day as the Rams' sale process moves along and as the mysterious billionaire Stan Kroenke continues to drop people's jaws and raise their blood pressure with one strategic move after another my mind races to guess what sort of end game might lie ahead.

                      If Kroenke continues to prove to be this unpredictable (did someone say "diabolical?") as a potential buyer, how nervous should that make us if he actually ends up assuming full control of St. Louis' NFL franchise?

                      As far as I can tell, what we have learned about Kroenke is that every move he makes is straight out of a Machiavellian playbook. From his cunning 11th hour maneuver to gain complete financial control of the franchise, to this latest reported strategy to seek an eight-figure "compensation" from would-be buyer Shahid Khan to step out of the buying process, his actions reek of cold-blooded duplicity.

                      According to the Sports Business Journal, it turns out Kroenke may not want to buy the Rams. He just wants to maximize the value of his existing 40 percent share of the team by gumming up Khan's attempt to buy the team.

                      On Wall Street, there's a not-so-polite term for such tactics: "greenmail."

                      But in St. Louis, the word "blackmail" would work just as well, because what else would you call it when someone basically tells you to just pay him to stop being a nuisance?

                      Every maneuver the minority owner makes feels more duplicitous than the next. I know he's not doing anything his original purchase agreement doesn't allow. But the more you see how cutthroat Kroenke's business strategies are, the more urgent it seems to me that Khan ultimately finds the economic wherewithal and additional investors to make Kroenke go away.

                      I have no idea what sort of owner Khan might become. But I do know that he has St. Louis' best interests at heart. He wants to keep the Rams in St. Louis and would not turn the tenuous lease situation into a devilish ploy at the negotiating table. No matter how contentious those negotiations end up as the city tries to find a creative way to satisfy the Rams' lease and drastically improve the amenities at the Edward Jones Dome Khan's goal is to keep the team in St. Louis.

                      No one can assume what Kroenke's ultimate goal is except that it will end up benefiting Kroenke. He has shown in the short span of a few weeks that he will use any ruthless strategy to maximize his bottom line.

                      If you don't think that means using our city's economic weakness as a way of doing a double-turn back to Los Angeles, you're sadly underestimating Kroenke's ability in the art of the (double)...
                      -04-20-2010, 01:02 AM
                    • MauiRam
                      Kroenke's silence might say a lot ..
                      by MauiRam
                      Bernie Miklasz
                      Sports Columnist Bernie Miklasz

                      ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH

                      What a strange time to be a Rams fan in St. Louis. We're eight days away from the NFL draft, and the Rams hold the first choice. They're probably going to choose talented Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford, a good guy with an accurate arm who can become the new face of the franchise and a symbol of hope.

                      After three seasons of 6-42 football, this should be a time of looking ahead to better, happier days. But as usual, Rams fans are left to wonder what's going on. The glimpse into the future is hazy. An unsettled, uncertain ownership situation has put the franchise in turmoil. And that's unfortunate.

                      The concern is that the football operation is limited and unable to spend money and make moves because of the uncertainty at the very top of the franchise. If Chip Rosenbloom and Lucia Rodriguez are selling their 60 percent to Stan Kroenke or Shahid Khan, then haven't they already checked out?

                      "Nothing could be further from the truth," said Kevin Demoff, the Rams' chief operating officer. "We're making football decisions based on what's best for the Rams in the short term and the long term. We presented an offseason game plan to Chip and Lucia, and they agreed to it. Nothing has changed. There are no constraints. They are actively involved."

                      The purpose here isn't to beat up on Rosenbloom and Rodriguez. They've made a genuine attempt to give the franchise a fresh start by installing new football leadership. And they have improved the dysfunctional culture at Rams Park.

                      Moreover, the Rosenblooms were determined to sell to pro-St. Louis interests. They thought they had a good buyer in Khan, the central Illinois businessman who lives within an easy drive from St. Louis. After entering into a purchase agreement with the Rosenblooms, Khan immediately conveyed his pro-St. Louis sentiment and indicated that he wanted to keep the team here.

                      But Rams minority ownership partner Stan Kroenke cut off Khan's bid by exercising his contractual right to buy the 60 percent owned by Chip and Lucia. Kroenke must persuade the NFL owners to change their cross-ownership rules to accommodate him.

                      And what if Kroenke succeeds? It's widely assumed that Kroenke would be pro-St. Louis with the Rams. He's a Missouri native. A multi-billionaire and highly successful real-estate developer, Kroenke does business throughout the state. He has family here. He has a residence in Columbia, Mo. And he helped bring the Rams here from Los Angeles in '95.

                      That said, something struck me as odd the other night when Kroenke disclosed his intentions to buy the Rosenbloom-Rodriguez shares. In his statement, Kroenke said nothing about wanting to keep the team in St. Louis. There was no expression of thanks offered to Rams fans for...
                      -04-15-2010, 09:09 AM
                    • MauiRam
                      Kroenke: Rams would stay here ..
                      by MauiRam
                      By Bernie Miklasz
                      ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH

                      If Stan Kroenke gains NFL approval in his quest to purchase the Rams, he vows to do everything he can to secure the team's long-term future in St. Louis.

                      In his first interview since announcing that he'd exercised an option to match businessman Shahid Khan's bid for the available 60 percent of the team, Kroenke broke his customary silence in an attempt to reassure Rams fans of his positive intentions.

                      "I'm going to attempt to do everything that I can to keep the Rams in St. Louis," Kroenke said in a phone interview Tuesday night. "Just as I did everything that I could to bring the team to St. Louis in 1995. I believe my actions speak for themselves."

                      In the early 1990s, Kroenke became the lead investor in a St. Louis group that unsuccessfully pursued an NFL expansion franchise. But Kroenke later purchased 40 percent of the Rams from owner Georgia Frontiere as a precondition of the franchise's move from Los Angeles to St. Louis before the 1995 season.

                      "There's a track record," Kroenke said. "I've always stepped up for pro football in St. Louis. And I'm stepping up one more time."

                      Kroenke, citing confidentiality agreements, declined to discuss his plan to persuade the NFL to accommodate his bid for the Rams. Because of current league guidelines, Kroenke must work around NFL rules that prohibiting cross-ownership. He may have a problem in gaining clearance from the NFL because of his ownership of NBA and NHL franchises in Denver. The Post-Dispatch recently reported that one potential solution is to have Kroenke sell the Denver sports franchises to his wife, Ann.

                      Again citing confidentiality agreements, Kroenke declined to discuss his dealings with Khan, who had hoped to have Kroenke stay on board as a 40 percent partner. A report in the Sports Business Journal claimed that Kroenke had asked Khan for "a mid- to high eight-figure fee" in return for allowing Khan to proceed with his attempted purchase of 60 percent of the Rams.

                      Since Kroenke decided to match Khan's bid, Kroenke's motives have come under scrutiny. For starters, Kroenke didn't express a commitment to St. Louis in the statement he issued to announce his decision to match. Then came a report that Kroenke was a member of an NFL committee that supervises potential new-stadium projects in Los Angeles, which is seeking an NFL franchise. Then came the Sports Business Journal report, which caused more commotion in St. Louis.

                      Kroenke is bothered by the perception that he'd work against St. Louis, or that he'd scheme to move the Rams back to Los Angeles. He pointed to a life spent largely inside Missouri borders, and his base in Columbia, Mo.

                      "I'm born and raised in Missouri," Kroenke said. "I've been a Missourian...
                      -04-21-2010, 12:08 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
                      ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH

                      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
                    • 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