Owners Approve Stan Kroenke's Purchase of Remaining Rams' Stock
Stan Kroenke, the Rams' minority owner who also owns the NHL's Colorado Avalanche and the NBA's Denver Nuggets, was approved by a full and unanimous vote of the NFL owners.
Kroenke already owned 40 percent of the team; now he's buying the remaining 60 percent of the shares from Chip Rosenbloom and Lucia Rodriguez, the children of deceased former owner Georgia Frontiere. The sale was forced by estate tax issues.
"We are delighted with today's vote by NFL owners,'' Kroenke said in a statement released by the Rams. "It is one of the very high points of our long association with the NFL. We look forward to working with our fellow owners and Commissioner (Roger) Goodell as the transaction is finalized and in the years ahead.
"Building organizations that win consistently is a challenge that we understand. We are excited about the opportunity as principal owner of the St. Louis Rams.''
The purchase price is based on the franchise's estimated value of $750 million, making Kroenke's purchase worth $450 million. It's not pocket change, but Kroenke is a billionaire who has made a fortune in real estate and strip mall development. And Kroenke's wife, Ann, is a Wal-Mart heiress. The couple is worth an estimated $6 billion.
While the money wasn't a problem, the NFL rulebook was. Cross-ownership of franchises in other sports aren't allowed, unless they are in the same market. Kroenke's ownership of the Nuggets and Avalanche was a problem. To get around the issue, Kroenke is transferring ownership of both Denver-based teams to his son, Josh.
Frontiere died of breast cancer on Jan. 18, 2008, and that set the sale in motion, although it was a long road.
"Fifteen years ago, my family entered a partnership with Stan Kroenke and it has been a wonderful relationship,'' Rosenbloom said in a statement. ``Although today is an emotional day and the end of an era for our family, it is also the beginning of a new chapter in the rich history of the St. Louis Rams.
"We look forward to Stan continuing the great tradition of the organization. On behalf of my sister Lucia (Rodriguez) and our entire family, we congratulate Stan and the Kroenke family on becoming the majority owner of the Rams.''
In welcoming Kroenke to majority ownership, Goodell said Kroenke ``has experienced success in all of his sports franchises.''