In a statement issued by Randy Lerner that was picked up on Twitter by both Adam Schefter and the crew at ProFootballTalk, businessman Jimmy Haslam III is reportedly interested in "making an investment in the Cleveland Browns", according to Lerner's statement. The Haslam family owns the Pilot Oil Corporation, which has gas stations and convenience stores all over the country and also recently purchased the Flying J brand of gas stations. Jimmy Haslam III is the current CEO of Pilot. He is 58 years old and currently resides in Tennessee.
The exact statement from Lerner and the Browns reads:
"In connection with current rumors and press inquiries, I can report that I’ve been approached by Mr. Jimmy Haslam, who is interested in making an investment in the Cleveland Browns,” Lerner says. “We are currently in negotiations and both sides have agreed to keep that dialogue and its details private. Given that any transaction would require League approval, care has been taken so that this process will not be disruptive to the organization, in particular the football team, as it prepares for the upcoming season. We will share further details or make an announcement if it becomes necessary."
No indication is made in the statement on how much of an ownership stake Haslam wants or how much Lerner is offering. Rumors have been circulating that the Browns have, in fact, been sold, but nothing concrete had come out about the Browns even being up for sale until this statement from Lerner.
The Haslam family was approved in 2008 by the NFL to receive a minority share in the Pittsburgh Steelers. They continue to own a portion of the team. A link to his Investor Profile page on the Steelers' Official Website notes that he is a "1,000 percent Steelers fan!" and that he watches all of the games.
More on this story when it becomes available.
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