|Rooney brother expects Steelers' decision soon|
|Written by Admin|
|Thursday, 18 September 2008 09:27|
But it's not because a billionaire suitor reportedly set a Friday deadline for his offer to buy a majority stake.
``My feeling on that is, if you want to do something right, you don't want to do it on a timeline,'' Art Rooney Jr. said Thursday. ``Although these things do stretch on, I thought we'd have some kind of understanding by the preseason, and now we're coming up on the third game of the season and you don't want it to drag out.''
``After all this time we put in it, it's the appropriate time that we should start making a decision,'' Rooney said.
Rooney said he expects a deal soon, but it will be ``more of a product of it being appropriate time rather than someone giving us a deadline or us giving a deadline to someone.''
y to avoid costly future inheritance taxes for their children and grandchildren. The NFL also wants one owner to control at least 30 percent of the team, although Dan Rooney - who has run the team since the early 1970s - also owns only 16 percent himself. The McGinley family, cousins to the Rooneys, owns the other 20 percent and is reportedly not interested in selling shares.
Dan Rooney and son Art Rooney II, the team president, are attempting to buy enough shares to be the primary owners. But their two previous offers are believed to be for less money than the other four Rooney brothers could sell for on the open market.
The NFL has rules that restricts owners' involvement in gambling enterprises, and requires that one person own at least 30 percent of a team. Some of the brothers own shares of racetracks that now offer casino gaming.
Dan Rooney and the Steelers have repeatedly refused comment on the negotiations.
Stanley Druckenmiller, who did not immediately return a call for comment, is reportedly interested in buying only a majority stake in the team. If that happens, the Steelers will not be owned by the Rooney family for the first time since Art Rooney Sr. - who founded the team for $2,500 in 1933 - briefly sold it in 1940 before buying it back a few months later.
et a deadline for an offer. Another option might be for the brothers to reject Druckenmiller's offer and see if they could attract a higher bid, despite the ongoing financial crisis that has severely limited the amount of money available to borrow for such a deal.
``With all due respect to Mr. Druckenmiller, who is a wonderful sportsman and who certainly loves Pittsburgh and loves the Steelers, I'm just worried about this becoming a circus,'' Art Jr. said.
The four brothers have hired the investment firm Goldman Sachs Group Inc. to calculate the value of their shares, while Dan Rooney has turned to Morgan Stanley for guidance in the matter. Goldman Sachs estimates that one of the NFL's most successful franchises could be worth as much as $1.2 billion. Forbes earlier this month estimated the team's value at just over $1 billion.
Art Rooney Jr. said his brothers are consulting their financial advisers on Thursday and again Friday.
``But I think those guys with Goldman Sachs have a few more important things to worry about than the Rooney brothers,'' he said, referring to ongoing Wall Street meltdown. ``It's obvious, because everybody seems to know about it, that we're having discussions.''
league's 32 owners, and Rooney acknowledged it would be easier to get league approval of his brother's bid to become the primary owner than Druckenmiller's.
``There's really only two guys involved (Dan Rooney and Druckenmiller),'' Art Rooney Jr. said. ``Dan would be considered a buyer, too, and he'd have to go through the process, too, though (the NFL owners) know him and his son already.''
Whatever the case, Art Rooney Jr. is ready to cut a deal. The Rooney brothers are all close to 70 years of age or older.