Rams minority owner Stan Kroenke has decided to exercise his option to purchase the 60 percent interest in the Rams that he doesn't already own. He released a statement announcing his decision late Monday, the deadline for exercising the option.
Current Rams owners Chip Rosenbloom and his sister, Lucia Rodriguez, had announced Feb. 11 their intention to sell their 60 percent interest in the team to Illinois businessman Shahid Khan. They had inherited the majority ownership in the team from their mother, Georgia Frontiere, who died in January 2008.
Kroenke, 62, who made his fortune in real-estate development, became a 40 percent minority owner of the club when the Rams moved from Los Angeles to St. Louis in 1995.
Kroenke's decision comes as a surprise to most observers. The NFL currently has a cross-ownership rule that prohibits its majority owners from holding a controlling interest in another professional franchise in any sport, and Kroenke is the owner of the NBA's Denver Nuggets and the NHL's Colorado Avalanche.
NFL spokesman Greg Aiello declined to comment on the cross-ownership issue, saying it was a matter between Kroenke and the other NFL owners.
Under his right of first refusal, Kroenke had the option of keeping his 40 percent interest, selling it or buying the 60 percent controlled by the Rosenbloom family. He chose the latter.
The amount of Khan's bid for the Rams has not been disclosed, but reports have estimated that Khan offered approximately $750 million for 100 percent of the team, less than the $913 million value placed on the club by Forbes magazine. By exercising his right of first refusal, Kroenke would pay a pro-rata portion of the purchase price for the 60 percent of the team he doesn't already own — approximately $450 million, if the rumored sale price is accurate.
Khan, 55, president of Urbana, Ill.-based auto parts maker Flex-N-Gate, could re-enter the picture if the owners choose to block Kroenke's purchase based on the cross-ownership rule.
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