Three Am Law 100 firms are advising on the potential sale of the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars by the current owner J. Wayne Weaver to Illinois auto parts magnate Shahis Khan, who has pledged to keep them in down in Florida.
The Jaguars, who actually joined the NFL as an expansion team in 1995, have struggled in the recent years both at the gate, and on the field. Also in addition to announcing the proposed sale to Khan, the team fired head coach Jack Del Rio on Tuesday. Weaver, who has owned the Jaguars since their inception, said publicly on Tuesday that he turned down other offers for the team from investors in California that might have decided to move the franchise to Los Angeles.
While the exact purchase price was not disclosed, Forbes reported that Khan had agreed to pay $760 million for the team, and plans to use $350 million in debt to finance the acquisition. This sale requires the approval of the league and owners who control the NFL’s other 31 teams.
Foley & Lardner finance and financial institutions practice chair Charles ”Chuck” Hedrick is leading a team from the firm advising the Jaguars on the sale. The other Foley lawyers that are working on the matter include employee benefits partner Leigh Riley, tax partner Timothy Voigtman, and the insurance partner Brian Kaas.
Paul Vance, who is on the counsel with Foley is Jacksonville, serves as the senior vice president of football operations and general counsel for the Jaguars. He became Weaver’s closest confidant and the second-most powerful person in the Jaguar organization after taking over virtually all nonpersonnel matters in 2001 from the former vice president Michael Huyghue, who is a sports lawyer currently serving as commissioner of the upstart United Football League, according to a 2003 profile of Vance in The Florida Time-Union.
In his role with the Jaguars, Vance, who is a Columbia Law School Graduate, manages the salary cap and contract negotiations with the players, while also handling transactional and other corporate matters for the team. Foley states on its Web site that is has been provided a good variety of services to the Jaguars, including representing the team in financings amounting to more than $100 million, lease agreements with the city of Jacksonville, IP and general litigation, and numerous labor and employment matters.
According to Forbes, Khan, who is a Pakistani native, helped build his fortune in the U.S. by ”adroitly buying unwanted factories,” owns privately held Urbana, Illinois-based auto parts maker at Flex-N-Gate. He had previously sought to purchase a 60 percent state in the NFL’s St. Louis Rams in 2010. Proskauer Rose advised Kham in that endeavor, which has stalled when Rams minority shareholder and Missouri businessman E. Stanley Kroenke exercised his right of first refusal to match Khan’s bid and to take control of the team. The Rams were sold to Kroenke in August of 2010 for $750 million.