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Walmart heir Rob Walton wins bid for Denver Broncos

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Posted at 9:45 PM, Jun 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-08 19:13:34-04

DENVER — The Denver Broncos and the Walton-Penner family ownership group, spearheaded by Walmart heir Rob Walton, have entered into a sale agreement to acquire the team, the Broncos announced in a tweet Tuesday night.

Walton, 77, is one of the richest people in the world thanks to his Walmart ties. The ownership group includes Walton's daughter, Carrie Walton Penner, and her husband, Greg Penner.

Mellody Hobson, co-CEO of Ariel Investments, is also part of the ownership group, Walton announced. She currently serves as Chair of the Board of Starbucks Corporation and is a director of JPMorgan Chase.

Hobson is a prominent Black businesswoman. The NFL wanted diversity in the Broncos' new ownership group.

In a statement, Broncos president and CEO Joe Ellis said he was "confident that [the Walter-Penner family's] leadership and support will help this team achieve great things on and off the field."

Rob Walton issued a statement on behalf of the Walton-Penner family ownership group, saying, "We look forward to earning the confidence and support of the NFL as we take the next step in this process."

Sources told Broncos Insider Troy Renck the purchase price is north of $4.6 billion, crushing the current record paid for an American sports franchise at $3.3 billion for the Brooklyn Nets, which involved real estate. The Panthers previously owned the NFL record, sold for $2.275 billion to David Tepper.

The Broncos were placed on the auction block in January when Pat Bowlen's children could not agree on one sibling to operate as the controlling owner.

Forbes valued the Broncos at $3.75 billion in August. However, the winning bid was predicted by financial insiders to exceed $4 billion and possibly inch closer to $5 billion.

Walton was favored to win the bid given his financial wherewithal and the fiduciary duty for the Broncos trust to take the highest offer.

The deal is pending approval from the NFL's financial committee and league ownership, which could take several months. If given the go-ahead, Walton would become the NFL's richest owner, and almost every Colorado major sports team would have ties to the Walton family as Stan Kroenke owns the Denver Nuggets, Colorado Avalanche and Colorado Rapids.

What would the $4.6 billion Broncos price tag buy?