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Dan Snyder has entered into a signed agreement to sell the Washington Commanders to an investment group led by Josh Harris — marking another important step for the storied franchise to change hands.

The NFL still must formally approve the agreement, but Friday’s joint announcement was crucial as the deal — worth $6.05 billion — had previously been only a tentative, nonexclusive agreement. That left wiggle room for another suitor to swoop in at the last minute. But sources said that Snyder’s deal to sell the Commanders to Harris is now exclusive.

“We are very pleased to have reached an agreement for the sale of the Commanders franchise with Josh Harris, an area native, and his impressive group of partners,”  Dan Snyder and Tanya Snyder said in a statement.  “We look forward to the prompt completion of this transaction and to rooting for Josh and the team in the coming years.”

Snyder, who bought the team for $800 million in 1999, reached the deal after years of controversy in which he and his team were the subjects of multiple investigations related to allegations of sexual harassment and financial improprieties. 

Harris, meanwhile, is no stranger to owning sports teams. He also is the managing owner of the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers and NHL’s New Jersey Devils.

Harris’ group holds a total of 17 limited partners, including Maryland billionaire Mitchell Rales and NBA Hall of Famer Magic Johnson.

“On behalf of our entire ownership group — including Mitch Rales, my longtime sports business partner David Blitzer and Earvin Magic Johnson —  I want to express how excited we are to be considered by the NFL to be the next owners of the Washington Commanders and how committed we are to delivering a championship-caliber franchise for this city and its fanbase,” Harris said in a statement.

“Growing up in Chevy Chase, I experienced first-hand the excitement around the team, including its three Super Bowl victories and long-term winning culture. We look forward to the formal approval of our ownership by the NFL in the months ahead and to having the honor to serve as responsible and accountable stewards of the Commanders franchise moving forward.”

An NFL spokesperson said the league and its finance committee “will review details of the proposed Washington transaction.”

For the deal to be finalized, Harris and Snyder must receive a total of 24 of 32 votes from NFL owners. And while there was optimism that a vote could happen as early when owners meet May 22-23, a source with knowledge of the situation said such a vote won’t occur at the May meeting — where owners instead will be briefed on the sale.

If all goes well, a vote could more realistically come in the next few months. Last year, the NFL called a special meeting in August to approve Rob Walton’s $4.05 billion purchase of the Denver Broncos.

So far, though, Harris’ deal is still in the process of being reviewed. At the league’s finance committee meeting Wednesday, members of the panel reportedly raised concerns about the complexity of Harris’ structure, which includes 17 limited partners.

In a press release, Harris confirmed at least a dozen of his investors: Rales, Blitzer, Johnson, Mark Ein, Lee Ainslie, Eric Holoman, Michael Li, Mitchell Morgan (and family), the Santo Domingo family (led by billionaire Alejandro Santo Domingo), Michael Sapir, Eric Schmidt and Andy Snyder.

Harris said the group has the “collective resources and shared commitment” to make the Commanders a “world-class” organization.

“I could not be more excited to be a partner in the proposed new ownership group for the Washington Commanders,” Johnson tweeted. “Josh Harris has assembled an amazing group who share a commitment to not only doing great things on the field but to making a real impact in the DMV community. I’m so excited to get to work on executing our vision for the Commanders and our loyal fanbase!”

The bid received an endorsement from former Washington coach Joe Gibbs.

“I’ve had the opportunity to get to know Josh Harris and the leadership team during this process and fully support his efforts to lead the new ownership group of the Commanders,” Gibbs said in a statement. “The NFL has grown a great deal since my time as a coach in this League, but what hasn’t changed is my belief that with great leadership from the top, the drive to win on the field and a commitment to culture – championship teams are created.

“Josh and his team share these values and I am committed to doing what I can to re-connect this great franchise to the community, fanbase, and alumni.”

The Commanders had been on the market since at least November when the team announced that the Snyders had hired an investment bank to explore “potential transactions” of the franchise, including a full sale. The announcement came amid mounting pressure for Snyder to sell the team — weeks earlier, Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay became the first owner to publicly suggest Snyder’s removal from the NFL merited serious consideration.

From early on, Harris emerged as a candidate to bid for the franchise as he previously pursued the Broncos and also owns a minority stake in the Pittsburgh Steelers. He became one of four known suitors linked to the team — a group that included Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, Canadian billionaire Steve Apostolopoulos and Houston Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta. Bezos, however, never ended up making an offer for the team, while Fertitta bowed out of the bidding once it topped his $5.6 billion offer.

A spokesperson for Apostolopoulos told multiple outlets that he was grateful for the “very open, transparent and enjoyable” process and plans to pursue another professional sports franchise.

Friday’s joint announcement also came hours after an ESPN story that said Snyder was lobbying the NFL to limit the release of investigator Mary Jo White’s final report regarding the team’s alleged misconduct — a report that Commanders ripped as “blatant fabrication.”

A source told The Washington Times in March that Snyder was refusing to cooperate in White’s probe, which was launched last year after a former Washington employee told members of Congress that Snyder made an unwanted advance at dinner by touching her thigh and trying to coax her into his limo. Snyder has denied the allegations.

White’s probe is among several ongoing probes into Snyder and the Commanders. The team is also being investigated by the U.S. attorney’s office in the Eastern District of Virginia and the Virginia attorney general.

The NFL has pledged to release a full report into Snyder and the Commanders — something they previously didn’t do when the league fined the team $10 million in July 2021 upon the conclusion of Beth Wilkinson’s investigation regarding the team’s workplace misconduct. Instead, the NFL released a list of findings and said it didn’t release a written report to protect the confidentiality of those who participated in the probe. That prompted a widespread backlash, including from the former Washington employees who cooperated with the league’s investigation.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in March that White’s report will still be released, even if the sale of the Commanders is finalized by the time the investigation concludes.

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