The Pegulas are putting a chunk of the Buffalo Bills up for sale.

The Bills confirmed to The Athletic that owner Terry Pegula has hired Florida-based investment bankers Allen & Company to handle the potential transaction but declined to say how much of the team is being sold. A source briefed on the discussions said the working figure is 25 percent, with the number not set in stone.

 

“The Pegula family has retained Allen & Company to explore the potential sale of a non-controlling, minority interest in the Bills,” the team said Friday in a statement. “These discussions only involve the Bills and no other team. No investment would be possible without Terry Pegula and the Pegula family maintaining a controlling interest in the team. Their continued commitment to Western New York, the new Highmark Stadium, our fans and the other teams in their portfolio remains unchanged.

 

“Neither the team nor the Pegula family are able to comment further at this point.”

 

Three sources with direct knowledge of the process stressed Pegula eventually might not sell part of the Bills, but for the first time, he’s ready to welcome a limited partner.

 

He might need to. Sole ownership has become less common in sports. As valuations skyrocket and estate taxes become more burdensome, NFL owners have increased difficulty keeping teams within their families. Terry and Kim Pegula used cash to purchase the Bills in 2014 for a then-record $1.4 billion. The record has since been shattered with each subsequent sale.

 

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos hired Allen & Company last year to evaluate his bid for the Commanders, who eventually sold to a group led by Josh Harris for $6.05 billion.

 

Forbes’ most recent NFL valuations, published in August 2023, estimated the Bills are worth $3.7 billion, with the average NFL team pegged at $5.1 billion.

 

The Pegulas are on the hook for any cost overruns on a stadium that initially was projected to cost $1.4 billion, although industry experts forecast the final price tag will be closer to $2 billion. The state’s contribution was capped at $600 million, while Erie County’s was capped at $250 million.

 

The NFL still does not permit owners to sell a limited-partnership stake in their clubs to private equity firms, unlike MLB, the NBA and the NHL. The NFL, however, has been moving closer to allowing such investments and could adopt guidelines this year.

 

Gideon Canice

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