Packers Plan Fifth Sale of Stock in NFL Franchise Next Week, Document Says

The Green Bay Packers, the only publicly owned franchise in U.S. sports, are preparing for their fifth stock sale next week, according to a document published by the State of Utah Department of Commerce.

In an Oct. 13 letter to the state, Foley & Lardner LLP, a Madison, Wisconsin-based law firm representing the Packers, asked that the Department of Commerce’s Division of Securities waive its regulations and licensing requirements for the team to sell stock in Utah “on or around Nov. 15”. Shares in the National Football League franchise pay no dividends, don’t appreciate and can’t be sold, characteristics generally associated with registered securities.

The Packers, at 8-0 the only undefeated team in the NFL this season, last sold stock in 1997, when they raised $24 million to update Lambeau Field. On Aug. 25, six months after the team won its fourth Super Bowl title, club President Mark Murphy announced that the Packers were considering another stock sale as part of a $140 million renovation to the 54-year-old stadium.

The letter outlines three main differences between this year’s planned issuance and the 1997 sale. Each share will likely be sold for more than the $200 that was charged in 1997 - - “it may be $250,” according to the letter; entities may be allowed to purchase shares at a higher price than individuals; and shares will be available for purchase online.

“We continue to work on the administrative aspects of a potential sale and are not in a position to discuss specifics,” Packers spokesman Aaron Popkey said in an e-mail when asked about the document.

Shares History

The Packers have about 112,000 shareholders owning 4.75 million shares. The team has sold shares four times in its 93- year history, first in 1923, when 1,000 people bought $5 shares.

On Nov. 3, the Utah Division of Securities responded that it wouldn’t recommend any administrative action should the Packers move forward. Popkey declined to comment on how many states had received similar letters, and how many had already responded.

The Packers want to hold the stock sale before Christmas, Vice President of Administration Jason Wied said in an interview two months ago. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell approved the team’s plan on Oct. 8.

The $140 million renovation, which will add two gates and about 6,600 seats, will be funded mostly through a stock sale and debt, Wied said in September. He said Green Bay-based Associated Banc-Corp (ASBC), Wisconsin’s largest independent bank by assets, probably would handle the debt financing.

Green Bay has a population of 104,057, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, making it the smallest market in the NFL. The Packers are valued at $1.08 billion, ninth highest in the league, according to Forbes magazine.

To contact the reporters on this story: Eben Novy-Williams in New York at enovywilliam@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Sillup at msillup@bloomberg.net

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