The controversial WFT majority owner, who first purchased his controlling stake in 1999, will soon own 100% of the franchise.
By this time next week, The Washington Football Team will likely have a single, solitary owner.
Majority stakeholder Daniel Snyder has reached a deal to buy out the franchise’s minority partners, Dwight Schar, Robert Rothman, and Fred Smith. Snyder is expected to pay the group $875 million for their share of the team, per a New York Times report.
The Washington Football Team has an estimated valuation of $3.6 billion. Snyder currently owns a 59.5% stake.
Despite Washington’s improved fortunes on the field in 2020, capped off by their first trip to the playoffs in five seasons, the news comes after a year marked by off-the-field scandals involving workplace sexual harassment, public in-fighting, and a series of lawsuits within the ownership group.
Last year, the trio of minority partners tried to sell their stake in the team to an unidentified party for an estimated $900 million. Dan Snyder blocked the deal, insisting on a right of first refusal, and further complicated things by trying to buy out Rothman and Schar exclusively.
This came after Snyder removed all three men from the team’s Board of Directors, citing a disagreement on financial management and accusing Schar of manipulating the media to wage “an extortion campaign” against him. Ultimately, the NFL had to get involved.
Some observers have noted that this deal could signal that we are close to a final statement from the NFL on its investigation of the sexual harassment claims — and that Snyder will avoid any serious discipline.
With that in mind, it’s natural that Washington fans, who have never exactly adored Snyder over the years, wouldn’t be overjoyed about this latest news.
While the transaction is not yet official, an NFL spokesman confirmed on Wednesday that the league’s finance committee approved Snyder’s application for a debt waiver of $450 million to buy out the 40.5% share collectively owned by Schar, Rothman, and Smith.
In order to finalize the deal, Snyder needs approval from the rest of the NFL’s owners, which is expected to go through next week at a regularly scheduled meeting.
This is just the most recent in a series of major moves for the Washington Football Team, beginning last summer with their long-overdue renaming. While controversies have continued to play out within the executive suite, the news hasn’t been all negative, as WFT did give a much-deserved promotion in January to Jennifer King, who will become the first female running backs coach in NFL history. But there’s clearly far more work to be done before this organization can regain even a small amount of favor.
In the meantime, establishing absolute ownership will pave the way for the embattled Dan Snyder to entrench himself with the franchise for the rest of his life if he so chooses. In the eyes of Washington fans, this massive transaction surely earns the man zero additional goodwill.