Canadian billionaire Steve Apostolopoulos ’emerges as the latest bidder’ for Washington Commanders

Canadian billionaire Steve Apostolopoulos has emerged as the latest bidder for the Washington Commanders, according to a report. 

Commanders owner Daniel Snyder, long embroiled in several controversies and accusations of an abusive work environment and financial improprieties, is looking to fetch $7billion in a potential sale of the team.

Apostolopoulos has now become the latest suitor to tour the NFL franchise’s stadium and training facilities as he looks to buy the team, according to ESPN. 

Apostolopoulos, the founder of Six Ventures Inc., a private equity venture fund, reportedly also held discussions to buy NBA franchise, the Charlotte Hornets, from Michael Jordan.

But the Harvard graduate, who was born in Toronto, is said to have refocused his efforts on pursing the purchase of the Commanders. 

Canadian billionaire Steve Apostolopoulos reportedly has become the latest bidder to tour the Washington Commanders’ stadium and training facilities as he looks to buy the team

Commanders owner Daniel Snyder is looking to fetch $7billion in a potential sale of the team

Commanders owner Daniel Snyder is looking to fetch $7billion in a potential sale of the team

There is currently only three known bidders for Washington: groups led by Josh Harris, Houston Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta and now Apostolopoulos. 

Harris’s bid was strengthened earlier this week when it was revealed that Basketball Hall of Famer Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson had joined the group.

Johnson, an NBA legend and former Los Angeles Lakers part-owner, is said to bring ‘both money and expertise’ to the table for Harris’ bid, Sportico reported Monday.

The 63-year-old is already involved in sports ownership with stakes in Major League Baseball’s Los Angeles Dodgers, Major League Soccer’s Los Angeles F.C. and the WNBA’s Los Angeles Sparks. 

Earlier in the month, ESPN reported that billionaire Mitchell Rales, of Washington D.C., joined Harris’ bid as well. 

Harris is the principal owner of the Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Devils, and is the general partner of Premier League soccer team Crystal Palace. Rales is the founder of Danaher Corp.

There has been speculation that Amazon founder Jeff Bezos could join the mix but Snyder has reportedly barred the Washington Post owner from placing a bid on the Commanders.

 With the NFL league meeting starting on Monday, there has been increased speculation over when a deal could be announced. 

Magic Johnson is reportedly teaming up with Josh Harris in his Washington Commanders bid

Owner of the Philadelphia 76ers, Joshua Harris

Magic Johnson (L) said to be teaming up with Josh Harris (R) in Washington Commanders bid

Jeff Bezos looks on from the sidelines before kickoff between the Kansas City Chiefs and Los Angeles Chargers at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium on September 15, 2022

 Snyder has reportedly barred Amazon founder Jeff Bezos from placing a bid on Commanders

Pressure has mounted on Snyder to sell the Commanders franchise in recent years, particularly since 2020 amid accusations of sexual harassment, financial impropriety, and obstruction against the team and Snyder himself. 

While the Commanders have fired many of the individuals accused of sexual harassment, and paid a $10million fine to the NFL, Snyder has defiantly denied accusations against him in the face of several investigations, including a congressional probe. 

Owners of the NFL’s other 31 teams are seeking an end to years of controversies related to the club, according to a recent New York Post report.

In October, Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay said there is ‘merit to remove’ Snyder. Though, the report suggests owners do not have the requisite votes to force Snyder to sell his club.

Such a move would be unprecedented in the NFL, and require the votes of 24 out of the 31 other owners. 

Snyder enlisted Bank of America to explore a potential sale of the team last year, but it remains unclear if he intends to close a deal, and if so, if he’s willing to sell the entire club or a minority stake. 

According to the Washington Post, Snyder wants a contract from the NFL or the prospective buyer of the Commanders to indemnify him. 

ESPN reported February 9 that FBI and IRS agents are investigating claims that Snyder took out a $55m loan without the knowledge of his then-minority partners.

After years of disputes, Snyder bought out minority owners Dwight Schar, a home construction executive, Black Diamond Capital CEO Bob Rothman, and FedEx founder Fred Smith in the spring of 2021. 

The trio had previously filed an injunction in hopes of being allowed to sell their 40.5-percent stake of the team, which Snyder ultimately purchased after the NFL approved a debt-limit waiver, allowing him to take out a $450m loan from Bank of America.

Recently a federal grand jury issued subpoenas related to team finances, according to ESPN. 

The former minority partners had reportedly demanded an NFL investigation into the alleged $55m loan during a confidential arbitration hearing, but at least one source with knowledge of the proceedings told ESPN that Schar, Smith and Rothman believed league commissioner Roger Goodell and general counsel Jeffrey Pash sided with Snyder.

If Snyder did take out the $55m loan without informing his now-former minority partners, it would have violated the team’s shareholder agreement, according to documents obtained by the AP. 

The NFL did not conduct any investigation into the loan, and Snyder has never been penalized over the financial misconduct claims.