September 19, 2014

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Updated: Sale of Browns complete

BEREA – The sale of the Cleveland Browns from Randy Lerner to Jimmy Haslam III has been completed, president Mike Holmgren confirmed late Thursday afternoon.

Holmgren said Haslam will be at Browns headquarters Friday for an introductory news conference. Holmgren said he talked to Haslam briefly Wednesday night and is looking forward to sitting down with him.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Haslam, a Tennessee businessman, will pay about $700 million in the first part of the purchase, then more than $300 in the second part. The Associated Press reported Haslam will get 70 percent initially and the remaining 30 percent on the four-year anniversary of the closing date.

With an official purchase agreement reached, the process heads to the NFL. The finance committee must approve Haslam, then the owners vote on the sale. A 75 percent majority (24 of 32 teams) is needed to approve the transfer of the franchise.

Holmgren said he didn’t know if a special vote would be called before a scheduled owners meeting in October.

The news broke during coach Pat Shurmur’s post-practice news conference. He said it won’t affect the team’s preparation for the season.

“I have no fear about any of that,” he said. “I trust my coaches and players. I have been watching the work they’re doing and it’s full steam ahead.

“It doesn’t bother me one bit.”

Lerner watched part of practice Wednesday, shaking hands with Shurmur and president Mike Holmgren.

Lerner announced Friday he was in negotiations to sell the team after nearly 10 years of owning it. He inherited the team when his father, Al, died in 2002.

Less than a week later, the deal is done. In order for the sale to become official with the league, Haslam must sell his minority stake in the Pittsburgh Steelers. He has likely begun the process.

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