Snyder agrees to sell Commanders to Josh Harris, Magic Johnson owners group


Washington Commanders owner Dan Snyder has agreed in principle to a deal to sell the team to an ownership group that includes Philadelphia 76ers co-owner Josh Harris, Magic Johnson and Mitchell Rales, NBC4 reporter JP Finlay has learned.

The purchase price was expected to approach $6 billion, but the final price is not confirmed.

The deal is not signed, but an agreement is in place, Finlay reported.

A Commanders spokesperson declined to comment early Thursday afternoon.

Harris is a billionaire from the private equity world and owns the 76ers and the NHL’s New Jersey Devils. He is a general partner of Crystal Palace, an English soccer club, and has an estimated net worth of $6 billion, according to Forbes.

Harris has ties to the D.C. area. He grew up in Chevy Chase and attended The Field School in the District. He made a serious run at buying the Denver Broncos but ultimately refused to enter a bidding war against the Walton family, of the Wal-Mart fortune. 

He brought on Rales, a billionaire who also grew up in Maryland, earlier this year. Johnson, who has ownership experience with Major League Baseball’s Los Angeles Dodgers and others, later joined the group.

Snyder bought the team in 1999 and took full control before the 2000 season. Since 2000, Snyder's Washington teams have registered a terrible 154-214-2 record, losing 60 games more than they've won, while earning just one playoff victory in 23 seasons.

In the 20 years prior to Snyder's ownership, Washington was one of the best teams in the NFL, with three Super Bowl wins and four appearances.

The extended losses only tell one part of Snyder's troubled history with the organization. There were also numerous allegations that ranged from sexual harassment to financial fraud, and the number of lawsuits and investigations has almost grown too large to count.

While Snyder had few fans in the D.C. area, the terms of his ownership changed dramatically after a series of investigative articles from The Washington Post in summer 2020. Those stories effectively brought about momentous change for the organization, including dropping the team's previous name and installing Tanya Snyder, Dan's wife, as CEO. The NFL also fined the organization $10 million.

Still, Dan Snyder remained defiant.

That was until a federal investigation into a secret $55 million personal loan became news. ESPN broke that story, and in the days and weeks after that allegation, news of a sale came fast and furious.

The team announced in November that Snyder had hired Bank of America to explore "potential transactions." The team hired the bank to help facilitate a potential sale, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Last summer, Forbes valued the team at $5.6 billion in its annual team valuations list, making the franchise the sixth most valuable in the NFL.

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