BEREA, Ohio (AP/clevelandbrowns.com) -- Cleveland Browns owner Randy Lerner has reached a deal to sell the team to Tennessee truck-stop magnate Jimmy Haslam III.
ESPN said the sale price was for more than $1 billion.
In a statement released on the team's website, Haslam said: "To own such a storied franchise as the Cleveland Browns, with its rich tradition and history, is a dream come true. We are commited to keeping the team in Cleveland and seeing it get back to the elite of the NFL."
Lerner, whose family has owned the franchise since it returned to the NFL in 1999, first announced he was in negotiations to sell the club last week.
Haslam has been a minority investor in the Pittsburgh Steelers since 2008.
For the last 16 years, the 58-year old Haslam has been the CEO of Pilot Flying J Corporation, the nation’s largest retail operator of travel centers and truck stops. A native of Knoxville, Tennessee, Haslam and his wife, Susan “Dee” Bagwell Haslam, have three adult children, Jim, Whitney and Cynthia.
PREVIOUS STORY:(CBS) Less than a week after initial reports that Browns owner Randy Lerner could give up controlling interest in the team and Jimmy Haslam could move "very quickly," that's exactly what has happened.
CBSSports.com's Jason La Canfora confirms that the Browns' sale to Haslam, a Tennessee businessman, is now complete. He notes that the move is subject to league approval, which will happen, but it will still require a formal vetting.
"The owners could vote on it later this month, and the latest it would receive formal approval would be the scheduled October fall meeting," La Canfora writes.
Less certain, however, is the future of team president Mike Holmgren. Joe Banner, the former Eagles' president, will join Haslam in Cleveland although sources tell La Canfora that it's not a sure thing that he will reprise that role with the Browns. Even if he doesn't, Holmgren could be out, but again timing could be an issue. According to La Canfora, if Haslam is not formally approved until October than the likelihood of Holmgren sticking around at least through the 2012 season grows.
Meanwhile, league sources tell ESPN's Adam Schefter that the sale was in excess of $1 billion and consists of two parts: Haslam will assume controlling interest for more than $700 million, and he will later pay $300 million to complete the deal.
Haslam is the president and CEO of Pilot Flying-J based out of Knoxville, Tennessee. Since 2008, he's been a minority investor in the Pittsburgh Steelers. He admitted in a profile on the team's website that he had previously been a fan of the Cowboys and Colts but had become "1,000 percent a Steelers fan." We're guessing that will change.
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