David Tepper has officially become the new owner of the Carolina Panthers, after his record takeover deal for the NFL American football franchise closed on Monday.
Tepper, the founder and president of global hedge fund Appaloosa Management, signed a definitive agreement worth $2.275bn (€1.95bn) to purchase the team on May 16. The NFL owners approved the purchase at the league’s Spring Meeting in Atlanta on May 22.
The Panthers have now announced an end to the takeover process, with Tepper stating: “I am thrilled to begin this new era of Carolina Panthers football and am humbled by the overwhelming excitement and support for the team.
“On behalf of the fans and myself, I thank Jerry Richardson for bringing the team to the Carolinas and for entrusting me with its future. Winning is the most important thing both on the field and in the community, and I am committed to winning a Super Bowl championship together. I look forward to being part of the Panthers’ family and to supporting this flourishing region.”
Tepper has acquired the Panthers after Richardson was forced to put the team up for sale in December amid allegations of misconduct. The NFL last month imposed a fine of $2.75m on Richardson and said it would review recommendations for league-wide reform of rules governing workplace conduct following the probe into the scandal that forced the 81-year-old to sell the team.
The Sports Illustrated website reported that at least four former Panthers employees had received "significant" financial settlements due to inappropriate workplace comments and conduct by Richardson. Following those disclosures Richardson announced his intention to sell the Panthers and removed himself from day-to-day operations of the club in favour of chief operating officer Tina Becker, who has now opted to resign from the position after closure of the Tepper deal.
Richardson, a former NFL player, had been the majority owner of the Charlotte-based team since it launched as an expansion franchise in 1995. Tepper has pledged to keep the team in the city as part of the new regime.
The Buffalo Bills were the last NFL franchise to be sold, with Terry and Kim Pegula paying $1.4bn for the team in 2014. Competing investment groups led by rock star Jon Bon Jovi and now US President Donald Trump missed out in the bidding for the Bills.