Photo: USA TODAY Sports
Photo: USA TODAY Sports

The Carolina Panthers on Wednesday officially announced they’ve reached an agreement to sell the franchise to hedge fund billionaire David Tepper.

Reports Tuesday indicated Tepper will pay between $2.2-2.3 billion in cash for the franchise, which Jerry Richardson and his partners purchased for $206 million in 1995, when it was an expansion club

The owners, who favored Tepper as Carolina's next owner because he has the necessary financing and has already been vetted as part of his previous minority purchase of the Pittsburgh Steelers, will vote on the sale at the owners meeting next week in Atlanta. Subject to approval, the sale would close in July 2018.

“Bringing the Panthers and the NFL to the Carolinas in 1993 was enormously fulfilling for Rosalind and me and all of our partners,” founder Jerry Richardson, said. “We are deeply grateful for the outpouring of support over the last 25 years. You have taken the Panthers into your hearts and made them part of this warm and supportive community. We want to thank all of our past and present players, coaches and staff for their hard work in making the Panthers a great success both on the field and in the community. The personal relationships we have enjoyed have been very meaningful to us.

“I look forward to turning the stewardship of the Panthers over to David Tepper. I have enjoyed getting to know him in this process and am confident that he will provide the organization with great leadership in both its football and community initiatives. I wish David and his family the very best as they enter this exciting new phase of their lives.”

Richardson, 81, long one of the NFL’s biggest power brokers, abruptly announced in December amid sexual and racial workplace misconduct allegations that he was selling the club. Richardson remains under NFL investigation.

Tepper, the founder and president of global hedge fund Appaloosa Management and a minority owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers since 2009, outbid Charleston businessman Ben Navarro to make this record purchase.

“I am thrilled to have been selected to be the next owner of the Carolina Panthers. I have learned a great deal about the community and the team over the past several months and look forward to becoming part of the Carolinas. I want to thank Jerry Richardson and the other Panthers partners for all they have done to establish and develop the NFL in the Carolinas. It has been a remarkable 25-year journey and I promise to build upon the Panthers’ success on the field and in the community.”

Tepper’s agreed-to purchase price of the Panthers easily surpasses the $1.4 billion Terry and Kim Pegula paid for the Buffalo Bills just four seasons ago.

Tepper, whose estimated worth is $11 billion, becomes the NFL’s third-wealthiest owner, trailing only Seattle’s Paul Allen (20.6 B) and the L.A. Rams’ Stan Kroenke ($13.6 B), according to ESPN’s Darren Rovell.

Born in Pittsburgh, Tepper, 60, earned his MBA at Carneggie Mellon University in 1982. He later donated $55 million to the university's business school, now named the David A. Tepper School of Business.

Tepper, a resident of Miami Beach, Fla., formerly worked at Goldman and Sachs, before launching Appaloosa Management, which in 2009 earned in excess of $7 billion in buying distressed financial stocks, including Bank of America.

According to Tepper's wikipedia page, he keeps a replica pair of brass testicles on his desk, a gift from a former colleague, which he rubs for good trading luck.