Local billionaire Mitchell Rales enters Commanders purchase race
There’s a new player vying to buy the Washington Commanders: the low-key Potomac billionaire Mitchell Rales.
Why it matters: The sweepstakes to buy the ailing — but highly valued — NFL franchise from local villain Dan Snyder has narrowed to a couple of fat cats, Jeff Bezos still among them. The next owner would need to reboot the team and navigate tricky politics to build a new stadium.
Driving the news: Rales joined the Commanders bid led by private equity billionaire Josh Harris, another local son who grew up in Chevy Chase, Md., and attended The Field School.
Zoom in: Rales (est. Forbes net worth: $5.6 billion) grew up in Bethesda and was captain of the football and baseball teams at Walt Whitman High School, per Washingtonian.
- Along with his brother Steven, Mitchell Rales made D.C.-based Danaher Corporation a global science and tech conglomerate and Fortune 500 company. (The power duo has summer houses in Maine on Mount Desert Island, where Mitchell upset old-money types by tearing down a Rockefeller mansion.)
- He and his wife Emily founded the private modern art museum Glenstone in Potomac.
What they're saying: Former Washington quarterback Robert Griffin III tweeted his delight with a meme over Rales getting in, saying, “We are gathered here today to celebrate the size of this W.”
State of play: The $114 billion elephant in the room is Jeff Bezos. The owner of Amazon and the Washington Post was first floated as making a bid with Jay-Z shortly after Snyder enlisted Bank of America in November to explore a potential sale. Bezos hired an investment firm to consider a bid, the Post reported late last month.
- But Snyder has resisted Bezos’ efforts to bid on his franchise due to the Post’s coverage of Snyder and the Commanders, a source told the newspaper.
- Tilman Fertitta, who owns the NBA’s Houston Rockets, is another potential buyer, according to the Post.
Between the lines: NFL team owners don’t have enough votes to force a sale, and Snyder is sticking to his $6 billion asking price, the NY Post reported.
💭 Thought bubble, via Axios business editor Dan Primack:
- Bezos can still pay more than anyone, by a lot. The question for Dan Snyder will be if he values personal grudges more than money.
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