Sources: Rubin's Bid To Buy Panthers Includes Alibaba's Joe Tsai
Fanatics Founder & Exec Chair Michael Rubin is "putting together an audacious bid" to buy the NFL Panthers, and has "landed an incredibly powerful ally" -- Alibaba Exec Vice Chair Joe Tsai, according to sources cited by Modal Trigger of the N.Y. POST. Tsai is on board to "join an impressive ownership consortium, which they hope could yet include sports figures" such as Warriors G Stephen Curry and Diddy. Tsai is already a 49% owner of the Nets. Sources said that "initial bids for the team" were due yesterday (NYPOST.com, 3/12). In Jacksonville, Phillip Heilman notes Rubin, 45, would "become the second-youngest NFL owner" behind 49ers CEO Jed York, who is 37 (FLORIDA TIMES-UNION, 3/13).
PICKING PARTNERS: In Charlotte, Erik Spanberg noted prospective Panthers bidder Felix Sabates hopes his partnership can either buy the team or "become minority investors if another buyer negotiates a purchase agreement first." Sabates yesterday said that the latter option "would be viable with two of the prospective buyers" -- Steelers investor David Tepper and Sherman Financial Group Founder & CEO Ben Navarro -- "but not with" Rubin. Sabates: "(Navarro) and Tepper could stroke a check for the whole thing. Rubin is a different story. I don’t know him. I would not partner with him." Sabates said that he is "confident that if Navarro or Tepper buy the Panthers, they will stay in Charlotte." A source said that the sale "could be finished as soon as this month," but also said that there is "no guarantee that will happen" (BIZJOURNALS.com, 3/12).