Mitchell Rales joins Josh Harris’ bid to buy the Commanders


Mitchell Rales, a Potomac, Md. billionaire who is a co-founder of Danaher Corporation, has joined Josh Harris’ group interested in buying the Washington Commanders from Daniel Snyder, a person with knowledge of the deliberations, said on Thursday.

The addition of Rales, whose net worth Forbes estimates at $5.6 billion, significantly strengthens the group’s offering as Snyder considers a possible sale of the franchise.

The Harris Group is one of three known potential buyers. Harris, the owner of the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers and the NHL’s New Jersey Devils, grew up in Chevy Chase and attended field school in northwest Washington. He is co-founder of Apollo Global Management and General Partner of the English Premier League’s Crystal Palace Football Club. Harris has an estimated net worth of $6.2 billion, according to Forbes.

NFL owners discuss sale of Commanders Daniel Snyder at committee meeting

Harris visited the commanders’ training facility in Ashburn as part of the bidding process, two people familiar with the situation said.

The Harris group declined to comment through a spokesman on Rales’ involvement. The addition of Rales to Harris’ offer was first reported by ESPN.

Snyder and the Commanders have told NFL team owners that there are “several bidders” for the franchise that the owners and the league will “love” and that the sale price “looks good,” a person familiar with the inner workings of the NFL is familiar and the views of the owners said this week. However, some owners remain concerned about the sale going through as Snyder wants to be released from future legal liability and costs by either the buyer or other NFL team owners and the league, this person said.

Other owners, however, emerged from two-day committee meetings this week in Palm Beach, Fla., in hopes that Snyder will agree to sell the Commanders without further resentment toward the owners and the NFL, several people who attended those meetings said.

Josh Harris, prospective Commanders buyer, visits the team’s training facility

Snyder’s wife Tanya, the team’s co-CEO, attended the Palm Beach meetings, according to two attendees. She attended the meetings of the committees assigned to her. There was no indication that she had discussed the potential sale or any other issues related to her husband. The NFL is conducting its second investigation into Daniel Snyder and the team. This is led by attorney Mary Jo White.

The owners made no decisions at the Palm Beach meetings regarding a possible vote to force Snyder to sell his team, three people with knowledge of the owners’ discussions said. Such a move would require the approval of at least three quarters of the owners.

The Commanders announced in November that the Snyders had retained Bank of America Securities to review potential transactions for the franchise. The team hasn’t said if the Snyders intend to sell all or part of the franchise. Forbes valued the Commanders at $5.6 billion last year. The record sale price for an NFL team is $4.65 billion, which a group led by Walmart heir Rob Walton paid for the Denver Broncos last year.

Other potential Commanders buyers include Tilman Fertitta, owner of the NBA’s Houston Rockets, and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. Snyder has blocked Bezos, who owns the Washington Post, from participating in the bidding process, a person familiar with the situation said last week in defiance of the Post’s coverage of Snyder and the team. It’s not clear, this person said, if Snyder will eventually relent and allow Bezos to buy the team if he makes the highest bid. Mitchell Rales joins Josh Harris’ bid to buy the Commanders

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