Carolina Panthers price tag reaches record-setting amount

Carolina Panthers price tag reaches record-setting amount

Bidding for the Carolina Panthers has reached $2.5 billion.

One candidate to purchase the team, Fanatics owner Michael Rubin, is now not willing to go that high, a source told ESPN.

Other known bidders for the team Jerry Richardson put up for sale following the season include Charleston, South Carolina, billionaire Ben Navarro, hedge-fund billionaire David Tepper and Michael Rubin of the sports-merchandise giant Fanatics.

The Carolina Panthers franchise is reportedly worth $2.3 billion, according to Forbes, but experts say it could go for more.

Music star Sean "Diddy" Combs and Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry expressed interest in joining a Panthers ownership group, but it appears that pursuit has ended. CEO Jim Goodnight could also potentially be interested.

Alan Kestenbaum is chairman and CEO of the private equity firm Bedrock Industries LP, which in June bought a 107-year-old Canadian steel company now called Stelco Holdings.

Bloomberg reported that Rubin's group had dropped out of the bidding process due to the price escalation, but his spokesman reportedly declined to comment. At this point, billionaire businessman Joseph Tsai is the only confirmed partner with Rubin, sources said. The team founder stepped down from the day-to-day operations of the franchise after a Sports Illustrated article detailed the allegations and named Tina Becker chief operating officer.

Once Richardson selects a winning bid, 75 percent of National Football League owners must approve the sale before it is official - which they hope to do at meetings on May 21-23 in Atlanta, ESPN reported. The most likely scenario for that, first reported last month, is the May 21-23 meetings in Atlanta.

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