A group led by Rob Walton, the son of Walmart Inc. founder Sam Walton, agreed to buy the National Football League's Denver Broncos for an amount that's likely to be the highest ever paid for a U.S. professional sports team.
Mr. Walton's group includes his daughter Carrie and her husband, Greg Penner, along with Mellody Hobson, co-CEO of Ariel Investments LLC, the two sides said in a joint statement June 7. They didn't disclose terms for the deal, which needs approval from the NFL's finance committee and league ownership. The offer was worth $4.65 billion, ESPN reported, citing NFL sources it didn't identify.
Mr. Walton was an early front-runner in a crowded field of contenders vying for the first NFL team to go up for sale in four years, which included billionaires Josh Harris, co-founder of Apollo Global Management Inc., and mortgage mogul Mat Ishbia.
Ms. Hobson joins the group at a time of increased focus on the lack of diverse representation among owners in the 102-year-old NFL, where 7 out of 10 players are Black, yet no Black person has ever held a majority stake in a team.
The reported price tag for the Broncos would be the largest for a U.S. sports franchise, surpassing the $3.3 billion sale of the NBA's Brooklyn Nets to Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. co-founder Joe Tsai in 2019 and David Tepper's 2018 purchase of the NFL's Carolina Panthers for $2.3 billion.
Ms. Hobson is the chairwoman of Starbucks Corp. and on the board of Bloomberg Philanthropies, the philanthropic organization of Michael Bloomberg, the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, which owns Bloomberg News.