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Thread: Steeler minority owner Jimmy Haslam on verge of acquiring Browns controlling interest

  1. #1
    Legend RuthlessBurgher's Avatar
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    Steeler minority owner Jimmy Haslam on verge of acquiring Browns controlling interest

    Well, the Steelers have owned the Browns since the merger anyway, so this just makes it official.

    On the other hand, Haslam has had inside knowledge of how the Rooneys run their team successfully, and he may try to do whatever it takes to make sure that model gets implemented in Cleveland as well.

    Steelers fan in talks to buy Browns
    Updated: July 27, 2012, 3:48 PM ET
    Associated Press

    CLEVELAND -- Browns owner Randy Lerner has begun talks with truck-stop magnate Jimmy Haslam on giving up controlling interest while committing to keep the team in Cleveland, the club president said Friday.

    And get this: Haslam is a self-described "1,000 percent" Pittsburgh Steelers fan.

    "(Lerner) is giving up controlling interest in the team," president Mike Holmgren said at the team's suburban Berea training camp. Holmgren said he and Lerner have discussed the matter throughout the summer.

    Holmgren said the talks on the future of the team included the agreed stipulation that the Browns would remain in Cleveland. "The Cleveland Browns are not going anywhere," Holmgren said.

    Holmgren said that Lerner's interests have changed during the years and that the owner had told him a while back that while he loved the team, he would consider selling if and when a reliable buyer came along. "All the stars aligned in the last few months," Holmgren said.

    Lerner disclosed the talks in a statement earlier Friday.

    "In connection with current rumors and press inquiries, I can report that I've been approached by Mr. Jimmy Haslam, who is interested in making an investment in the Cleveland Browns. We are currently in negotiations and both sides have agreed to keep that dialogue and its details private," Lerner said in a statement.

    "Given that any transaction would require League approval, care has been taken so that this process will not be disruptive to the organization, in particular the football team, as it prepares for the upcoming season. We will share further details or make an announcement if it becomes necessary."

    The Browns have been owned by the Lerner family since 1999, when the franchise was reborn after the original club moved to Baltimore.

    Randy Lerner, 50, who also owns the Aston Villa soccer club in England, inherited the Browns in 2002 following the death of his father, Al.

    Some fans have been unhappy with Randy Lerner, long criticizing him as a disengaged owner of a club that has made the playoffs just once since it was recreated.

    In June, Holmgren reiterated the Browns were not for sale, responding to a rumor that Lerner had the team on the market.

    "No, the Browns are not for sale," he said. "I talk to Randy all the time, and I assume he'd tell me. We have a very open, honest relationship. No, there's no truth to that."

    Jimmy Haslam is president and CEO of Knoxville, Tenn.-based Pilot Flying J, the largest operator of travel centers and travel plazas in North America with more than 550 retail locations. He is the older brother of Tennessee's Gov. Bill Haslam, who also worked for the family business before he was elected mayor of Knoxville in 2003 and again in 2007, then governor in 2010.

    Lauren Christ, spokeswoman for the company, confirmed that Jimmy Haslam was the prospective Browns investor. She said Haslam would have no further comment on the Browns statement and referred all questions to the team.

    NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said the league is aware of the discussions.

    Haslam has been a minority investor in the Pittsburgh Steelers and in a 2010 profile told the team's Steelers.com Web site that he had been a Dallas Cowboys and then an Indianapolis Colts fan. But with the Pittsburgh investment, Haslam said he had become "1,000 percent a Steelers fan." The Steelers, of course, are the Browns' chief rival.

    The Haslam brothers are supporters of the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, where their father Jim Haslam played tackle on the 1951 national championship football team under Gen. Robert R. Neyland, who is credited with building the school into a football powerhouse.

    The elder Haslam founded the Pilot Corp. in 1958 with a single gas station in Gate City, Va.

    He credits sons Bill and Jimmy with expanding the chain from mostly gas stations and convenience stores to a "travel center" concept of truck stops featuring branded fast food service.

    Jim Haslam told The Associated Press in 2010 that his approach for his sons was: "Jimmy, you take care of today, and Bill you take care of tomorrow."

    "When we started our big expansion in the mid-1980s, Jimmy kind of ran the operations and Bill did the development fund and the new locations -- all the long-range stuff," he said.

    Jim Haslam was a longtime member of the University of Tennessee Board of Trustees and in 2006 donated $32.5 million to the school, the largest gift ever at the time.

    He also established the Haslam Family Foundation for charitable giving. Bill Haslam and Jimmy Haslam each gave $30.5 million to the foundation between 2001 and 2010. The brothers' biggest annual donation was $10 million each in 2008 and 2009, according to IRS reports.

    Over the same 10-year period, the family foundation gave $19 million, with the University of Tennessee, the UT Foundation and United Way receiving the most.

    Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson sought to deflect any talk of the city losing the Browns again. Then-owner Art Modell moved the franchise to Baltimore in 1996.

    "The 30-year lease to the Cleveland Browns commenced in 1999 and continues to 2029," Jackson's office said in a statement.

    "This lease, like the prior Municipal Stadium lease for which the City of Cleveland successfully obtained an injunction in 1995, requires the Browns to play all their regular season and playoff home games in the Cleveland Browns Stadium. If this requirement is not honored the city has legal options that could be pursued if necessary."

    Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press
    http://espn.go.com/nfl/story/_/id/82...eveland-browns

  2. #2
    Any sale is still quite a ways off...

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    Maybe Haslam will trade us Richardson, Joe Thomas, Joe Haden, and the Browns 1st round pick for life for Wallace? He is a Steelers fan afterall. Maybe he's going to extremes for our Steelers

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    Quote Originally Posted by flippy View Post
    Maybe Haslam will trade us Richardson, Joe Thomas, Joe Haden, and the Browns 1st round pick for life for Wallace? He is a Steelers fan afterall. Maybe he's going to extremes for our Steelers
    Oh and I forgot, throw in Cribbs to sweeten the take a bit.

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    So does Jimmy Haslem have to sell off his stake in Steelers before getting involved with Browns?
    Steelers Draft
    Rd 1: Mike Evans - WR
    Rd 2: Kyle Van Noy - ILB/OLB
    Rd 3c: Philip Gaines - CB
    Rd 4: Taylor Hart - DE
    Rd 5: Justin Ellis - DT
    Rd 5c:Xavier Grimble -TE

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    An Open Letter to Mr. Jimmy Haslam, Future Owner of the Cleveland Browns

    by Neal Coolong on Jul 27, 2012

    Dear Mr. Jimmy Haslam,

    First off, I'd like to apologize for the two-year delay on this, but welcome to Steeler Nation. It's great to have you as one of the owners of our beloved football team, and we look forward to years of continued success, from the field to the front office to the concessions vendors.

    I'll be honest, I don't know whether the concessions vendors are considered successful, but I like to think they are.

    It's with regret, though, sir, I must inform you of a problem I've recently uncovered. You see, Browns owner Randy Lerner's confirmation today of rumors that you have inquired about purchasing at least a part of the Cleveland Browns is troubling, to put it mildly.

    I was moved by your "I'm a 1,000 percent Steelers fan" statement when you first joined our ranks. It's stirring, if not completely orchestrated, but those words have power here. We expect those who say or write them, to mean them.

    I'm not sure if that's the way things work where you are from, but they are here, in our landless, unified nation.

    Please, sir, don't think of me as a moron. I'm very much a supporter of business and understand the bottom line is ultimately what matters. I get you're trying to make a buck and you'd perhaps like a bigger slice of the pie than you current get at Table Rooney. But to flirt around with another team while you are a partial owner of this one isn't something we're going to appreciate.

    And to flirt around with that sorry of an excuse for a team? That's like being married to Kate Upton and flirting with that awful looking woman sitting two desks down from me. I'll spare you the picture, because you don't want to see it.

    And we don't appreciate those who intentionally spite us. Approximately 84 percent of us are now blocked on Mike Wallace's twitter feed due to our discord over his holdout. Ask Plaxico Burress. He's all but banished and all he did was tell Ben Roethlisberger to call a different play in the huddle. Plus, that whole "spiking the ball before being tackled" thing never sat well, and I'm being fair in assuming it never will.

    Where were you when the Jaguars were for sale? I didn't read your name back then. Granted, Jacksonville isn't Shangri-La either, but compared to Cleveland, it's Shangri-La with free drinks and crab cakes. Maybe toss in a cigar.

    This says nothing of the rivalry we have with Cleveland. You know, the whole Steelers/Browns thing? I know in your time you've never seen the Browns beat the Steelers, and even if you stayed in Pittsburgh for another 20 years you still may not ever see it, but you had to realize they're still in the league, right?

    Thomas Tull, one of your other co-owners, produced the Dark Knight version of Batman. You know he could find the guy who did Bane's stunts and throttle you, right?

    That being said, we wish you the very best in your pursuit of ownership of the Cleveland Browns. Even the due diligence of exploring the possibility of buying a piece of that team is enough to see you are not worthy of your "1,000 percent" statement, and we've retracted it for you. Your services are no longer wanted, needed or even remotely desired. Security will be there soon to take your Swingline stapler.

    Best of luck, you'll need it, and don't let the door hit you on the way out.

    Thank you, and have a wonderful day.

    Sincerely,

    STEELERNATION

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com...slam#storyjump

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    Backup kindlecatsb'ng's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by grotonsteel View Post
    So does Jimmy Haslem have to sell off his stake in Steelers before getting involved with Browns?
    NEWSNET 5 in Cleveland is saying right now that Haslem is right now selling off his share of the Steelers. Lots of TV news coverage of this event today. Mixed messages from Browns fans. The sportscasters keep saying that Haslem reports "he is 1000% a Steelers fan"--not what the Stains want to hear!

    GO STEELERS! Looking forward to a great season

    Kindle

  8. #8
    Legend RuthlessBurgher's Avatar
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    Looks like the deal is complete...for a cool BILLION...Adios, Jimmy...we hardly knew ya...

    Sources: Browns sold for over $1B
    Updated: August 2, 2012, 12:35 PM ET
    By Adam Schefter | ESPN

    The Cleveland Browns have been sold by Randy Lerner to Jimmy Haslam for in excess of $1 billion, league sources said.

    The sale of the Browns is laid out in two parts. Haslam will take over controlling interest of the Browns for over $700 million. Then, in the second phase of the purchase, he will pay over $300 million to complete the deal.

    NFL ownership is expected to approve Haslam's purchase at its October meeting. Commissioner Roger Goodell could expedite the process by calling a special meeting, although that is considered unlikely.

    The NFL helped bring Haslam to Lerner so that a sale could be completed smoothly, efficiently and with a high probability of success. Haslam had informed the league how much he wanted to buy a team, and Lerner -- who is more interested in his soccer team (Aston Villa in England) -- was interested in selling the Browns.

    Paperwork between the two sides was completed Thursday morning.

    Haslam is president and CEO of Knoxville, Tenn.-based Pilot Flying J, the largest operator of travel centers and travel plazas in North America with more than 550 retail locations. He is the older brother of Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, who also worked for the family business before he was elected mayor of Knoxville in 2003 and again in 2007, then governor in 2010.

    The Browns have been owned by the Lerner family since 1999, when the franchise was reborn after the original club moved to Baltimore.

    Randy Lerner, 50, inherited the Browns in 2002 following the death of his father, Al.

    Some fans have been unhappy with Randy Lerner, long criticizing him as a disengaged owner of a club that has made the playoffs just once since it was recreated.

    Haslam has been a minority investor in the Pittsburgh Steelers and in a 2010 profile told the team's website that he had been a Dallas Cowboys and then an Indianapolis Colts fan. But with the Pittsburgh investment, Haslam said he had become "1,000 percent a Steelers fan." The Steelers, of course, are the Browns' chief rivals.

    Haslam has begun to make plans with the Rooney family to sell the portion of the Steelers that he owns. By the time his purchase of the Browns becomes official, he no longer is expected to own the percentage of the Steelers that he controls.

    Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
    http://espn.go.com/nfl/story/_/id/82...1b-sources-say

  9. #9
    The whole "1,000% Steelers fan" thing is totally overblown...I mean, what's he supposed to say after he buys an intrerst in the team?

    Pretty funny, though...

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by kindlecatsb'ng View Post
    NEWSNET 5 in Cleveland is saying right now that Haslem is right now selling off his share of the Steelers. Lots of TV news coverage of this event today. Mixed messages from Browns fans. The sportscasters keep saying that Haslem reports "he is 1000% a Steelers fan"--not what the Stains want to hear!

    GO STEELERS! Looking forward to a great season

    Kindle

    The spin they are saying now is that Haslam is a diehard pro football fan that will do what it takes to put a winner together (shades of D. Snyder anyone??). They said Lerner sold the Browns the exact day the condition of his father's will allowed (10 yrs). Also think that Holmgren could be on his way out if they don't turn in a winning season.

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