May 11, 2018 / 7:39 PM / in 5 months

Reports: Carolina Panthers sale close, hedge fund billionaire to be named winning bidder

Billionaire hedge fund manager and Pittsburgh Steelers minority owner David Tepper is the leading candidate to be the Carolina Panthers’ next owner, multiple outlets reported Friday.

FILE PHOTO -- David Tepper, founder of Apploosa Management, speaks during the Sohn Investment Conference in New York May 4, 2015. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo -

What’s more, an announcement naming Tepper the winning bidder could come early next week, according to the reports.

Tepper, 60, is a co-founder of Appaloosa Management, a hedge fund based in Miami Beach, Fla. Forbes estimates his net worth at $11 billion. Forbes’ most recent NFL valuations, in September 2017, put the Panthers at $2.3 billion.

According to CBS Sports, Tepper valued the club at about $2.1 billion, a fact that led many to believe he would not end up being the winner.

But both CBS and ESPN are reporting that Sherman Financial Group founder Ben Navarro, long believed to be the leading candidate, believes that he is no longer in the running, and that Tepper will get the club.

When current Panthers owner Jerry Richardson does select the buyer, that person will have to be approved by NFL owners, perhaps at the league’s spring meeting in late May.

Richardson abruptly put the club up for sale at the end of last season following a Sports Illustrated report in December alleging Richardson had sexually harassed female employees and made a racial slur toward a team scout.

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