Josh Harris made “progress” with members of the NFL finance committee regarding his group’s $6.05 billion bid to purchase the Washington Commanders, according to two people briefed on the discussions that took place Wednesday in New York City. There was enough movement that a completed deal with Daniel Snyder by July is possible.
The primary hurdles with the Harris bid coming out of May’s owners’ meeting in Minneapolis involve the debt limit exceeding the $1.1 billion allowed by league rules and vetting the roughly 20 limited partners.
“Progress was made, but more work to do,” a league source briefed on the matter who was not authorized to speak publicly told The Athletic.
Another source briefed on the Harris bid but not authorized to speak publicly said the sale is moving toward ratification based on the positive conversation in Wednesday’s meeting.
The Washington Post first reported about the productive meeting that ran roughly 2 1/2 hours and fell nearly two months after Harris and Snyder agreed to terms in principle. Harris, owner of the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers and the NHL’s New Jersey Devils, and Snyder announced an exclusive agreement on May 12.
Mitchell Rales, one of Harris’ lead investors and co-founder of Danaher Corporation, also attended the meeting.
Owners expressed optimism about the sale’s completion in Minneapolis.
“It takes time. A lot of people have a lot of things to do,” Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said. “I know we’re all anxious, especially the fans, but we’re on a good course. … likely to happen.”
League rules against using institutional and private equity money are likely factors in Harris’ satisfying the finance committee’s requirements. The league is invested in seeing Snyder out as owner, but not enough to change ownership standards.
“That’s something we continually review and look to see if there are modifications that we would make,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said in Minneapolis. “I think it’s important for membership to be engaged. But it’s … not how we create greater value but how do we create stability in our league amongst the 32 teams. That’s the most important aspect of our ownership policies.”
The subsequent owners’ meeting is scheduled for October. The NFL could arrange a special interim meeting to vote on the Commanders sale. Approval requires 24 of 32 votes.
(Photo: David Dow / NBAE via Getty Images)