CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Rapper and mogul Sean “Diddy” Combs and Golden State Warriors All-Star Stephen Curry are among a strong, diverse group that e-commerce billionaire Michael Rubin is putting together as potential minority owners in his effort to purchase the Carolina Panthers, a source told ESPN.com on Tuesday.
Rubin’s name surfaced on Sunday as a serious bidder to purchase the team that Jerry Richardson put up for sale amidst an NFL investigation into allegations of workplace misconduct.
Rubin, the owner of the sports apparel retailer Fanatics, on Monday was one of three known bidders with the financial strength to be a majority owner who notified the NFL with a formal letter of intent required by the league.
The other two are hedge fund billionaire David Tepper and Ben Navarro, the Charleston, South Carolina-based founder and CEO of Sherman Financial Group.
Rubin already owns a stake in the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers, NHL’s New Jersey Devils and the Premier League’s Crystal Palace. He is worth $3 billion, according to Forbes, so he would have the money to put down the required 30 percent of the sale price the league requires for the majority owner.
The team was valued by Forbes at $2.3 billion, but insiders have told ESPN the team could go for less if there aren’t enough bidders to drive up the price.
An owner can then have up to 25 members in his ownership group.
Combs and Curry both expressed interest in being part of an ownership group when Richardson first announced the team would be put up for sale.
Combs tweeted this:
I would like to buy the @Panthers. Spread the word. Retweet!
— Diddy (@Diddy) December 18, 2017
Curry, a native of Charlotte and Panthers fan, followed that with a tweet about how he also was interested in minority ownership. He later spoke to reporters about it.
“Obviously I have a day job, but I’ve got people that are plugged in and are trying to see how to make that happen,” Curry said. “Nothing really to say about it besides that I’m very interested and very willing to do what it takes to make that happen.”
Neither Combs nor Curry have the money to consider being a majority owner. Forbes has Diddy valued at $820 million. Curry in 2017, according to the magazine, brought in $47.3 million in total earnings.
But both offer the robust diversity Rubin is looking for in partners and would be most likely to join his effort, although nothing has been finalized, a source said.
Official bids are expected to begin coming in over the next couple of weeks. The eventual buyer will have to get approval by three-quarters of the league’s 32 owners. Multiple sources have said the earliest that could happen would be the May meetings in Atlanta.