A Little Conflict Today …?

We know that Bank of America had been retained by Danny Boy Snyder to see if there was a buyer for the Washington Commanders willing to pay a price that Danny Coy could not turn down.  Supposedly there were a handful of consortia who made bids for the franchise by some sort of “deadline” back in December but none of the “bidders” included Jeff Bezos.  Earlier this week, the NY Post reported that Jeff Bezos was going to offer a bid and that Bezos was going to sell the Washington Post[Aside:  Reports also say that the highest bid for the Commanders so far is $6.3B which is about 40% more than the Broncos sold for just last year.]

Let me focus on the economics here first.  There is no apparent reason why Jeff Bezos would need to “sell the Washington Post” to be able to put in a bid for the Commanders.  According to Forbes, Bezos is worth $124B; so, even if he were to stride into the arena with a blow-away bid of $7.5B, he has the means to close that deal without:

  1. Selling the newspaper – – and/or – –
  2. Taking on minority investors/partners.

The NFL requires a franchise purchaser to “write a check” for 30% of the purchase price.  Even at the blow-away bid level of $7.5B, that would mean Bezos would have to come up with $2.25B for the “down payment”.  That is a whole lot of money but it represents less than 2% of Bezos’ estimated net worth according to Forbes.  From a detached economic point of view, there is no need to sell the Washington Post in order to be able to purchase the Commanders.

Possibly, the relationship between a sale of the newspaper and a bid for the franchise might be as some sort of psychological salve for Danny Boy.  After all, it was Bezos’ newspaper that did the investigative reporting that put the Commanders in a terrible spotlight as a toxic workplace.  When the initial revelations were supposedly resolved and Danny Boy paid a $10M fine and had to absent himself from the team for a while, the newspaper kept digging and came up with lots more muck and mire.  Some folks have even attributed the newspaper reporting as the reason Bank of America is out there looking for a buyer for the franchise.

If in fact that causality does exist, then one might concoct a melodrama wherein Bezos sells the paper so that he arrives at the bidding cleansed of the stain that created the bidding in the first place.  I do not read minds; I have no insight into any motivation(s) related to any such linkage.  So, if you try to convince me that the sale of the Washington Post is directly linked to a bid for the Commanders’ franchise, I will tend to believe the melodramatic linkage before I believe that the sale of the paper is driven by the economics of affording the team.

If you want to read the NY Post report on this issue, you can find it here.

            Moving on …  Yesterday, I said that with the removal of the LA Angels from the market, there was only one MLB franchise up for sale – – also in Washington DC.  However, the lack of any other teams looking for buyers does not mean that all is sweetness and light in the ownership suites of the other 29 MLB teams.  Last year, one of the sons of Orioles owner, Peter Angelos, sued his mother and his brother alleging mismanagement of the team’s finances.  That lawsuit was percolating quietly in the background – but always had the potential for newsworthiness due to the family nature of the squabble – until yesterday.  That is when the plaintiff, Louis Angelos accused his brother, John and his mother Georgia Angelos of “draining nearly $65M from a bank account that originally belonged to Peter Angelos” and that they used some of the funds to buy more shares in the team from an unidentified seller.

This saga has only just begun.  (Hat Tip to Karen Carpenter!)  This suit is still at the stage where the two sides are filing dueling motions and the plaintiff is still amending his lawsuit and the lawyers on both sides are in rhetorical overdrive.  If you want to catch up on the status of this familial fissure, you can find an excellent report here; the source is the Baltimore Banner which is a new journalistic enterprise in Baltimore that operates on a non-profit basis and began its life as a response to the Baltimore Sun being sold to a hedge fund last year.  The Banner does not have a long history, but it does an excellent job of covering events in Baltimore.  I have no way to know if the Banner can/will survive, but it should be considered a reliable journalistic source of information at this point of its existence.

Switching gears …  NFL Hall of Fame inductee, Ed Reed and Bethune-Cookman University reached an agreement about a month ago for Reed to be the head football coach at that HBCU – – sort of following the “Jackson St. model” of hiring a Hall of Fame football player to lead the football program.  That linkage lasted less than a month; Reed will not coach the Wildcats after all.

Evidently, as the school and Reed’s lawyers were working out the details of his contract, Reed criticized the school for having an unkempt campus and that he needed to pick up trash outside his office and around the football facilities.  That complaint evidently resonated with students at the school who then protested against their living conditions on campus which caused other maintenance issues to come to the surface.  The Board of Trustees for the university then refused to ratify Reed’s contract with the school and that has caused agita among the students and the football team.

Finally, since I began today with a report concerning Jeff Bezos, let me close with an observation by him:

“The common question that gets asked in business is, why?  That’s a good question, but an equally valid one is, why not?”

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports……..



One thought on “A Little Conflict Today …?”

  1. George Bernard Shaw (1949): You see things; and you say “Why?” But I dream things that never were; and I say “Why not?”

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