Thursday, June 30, 2022

Walmart heir Rob Walton expected to purchase Broncos for record-setting $4.5 billion, per report

For the first time since 1984, the Denver Broncos are going to have a new owner. 

According to Forbes, Rob Walton is likely going to purchase the team with a winning bid that’s expected to come in at roughly $4.5 billion. Forbes did note that the winning bid hasn’t yet been finalized, but it’s expected to be announced as “early as this month.” There’s always a chance that a deal of this magnitude could fall through, but it seems highly unlikely at this point, considering Walton’s wealth and vast resources.

From an official standpoint, the second round of bids won’t be turned in until Monday, a source confirmed to CBS Sports NFL Insider Josina Anderson, whose source said “any notion that a favorite has emerged, or a that a figure has been finalized is categorically false.”  

The Broncos have been inching closer to a sale over the past few weeks with prospective buyers visiting the team’s facilities in May. Although there were four other finalists looking to buy the team, none of those finalists could come close to matching Walton’s wealth. Rob, who is the son of Walmart founder Sam Walton, is worth an estimated $59.6 billion, according to Forbes. 

Once the purchase is finalized, not only will Walton instantly become the NFL’s richest owner, but he’ll have a higher net worth than the NFL’s six richest owners COMBINED. Panthers owner David Tepper currently has the highest net worth in the NFL at $16.7 billion. 

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If the final purchase price ends up being $4.5 billion, that would smash the American record for most money ever paid for a sports team. The record is currently held by the Nets, who sold for $2.35 billion in August 2019. The $4.5 billion price tag would also almost double the price of the most expensive NFL team ever sold, which came in 2018 when Tepper bought the Carolina Panthers for $2.275 billion

As recently as early April, the Broncos were expected to be sold for just north of $4 billion, but NFL teams are a hot commodity that don’t come up for sale that often, which has likely helped drive up the price. 

The 77-year-old Walton will be buying the team from the Pat Bowlen trust. Bowlen originally purchased the team back in 1984 for just $78 million. From 1984 until his death in 2019, Bowlen oversaw one of the most successful franchises in the NFL as the Broncos went to seven Super Bowls, winning three of them, under his watch. Bowlen died in 2019 and his trust has been running the organization ever since. After his death three years ago, there was constant speculation that the team would eventually be put up for sale, but that didn’t officially happen until February of this year. 

As for Walton, although he’ll be the first Walmart heir to own a team, he won’t be the first with ties to NFL ownership. Rob Walton’s cousin, Ann Walton Kroenke, is the husband of Rams owner Stan Kroenke. If you’re wondering about the family tree there, Sam Walton is Ann’s uncle. Ann’s father, Bud, was Sam’s brother and a co-founder of Walmart. 

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