Cleveland Browns owner Randy Lerner said he’s in talks to sell part of the National Football League team to James Haslam III, a part owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers and the president of Pilot Travel Centers LLC, the nation’s largest operator of travel centers and truck stops.
“I’ve been approached by Mr. Jimmy Haslam, who is interested in making an investment in the Cleveland Browns,” Lerner said in a statement sent by the team. “We are currently in negotiations and both sides have agreed to keep that dialogue and its details private.”
Lerner said the sides were taking care not to disrupt the team’s operations as it prepares for the season and that he would share further details if it becomes necessary.
The Browns finished with a 4-12 record in 2011, the team’s fourth straight losing season. The team has played in Cleveland since 1999, when NFL owners chose Al Lerner to buy the expansion Browns franchise for what the New York Times said was $530 million, after Art Modell moved the original team to Baltimore in 1996 and renamed it the Ravens.
The Jacksonville Jaguars were sold last year for $760 million to Shahid Khan, owner of Flex-N-Gate Corp., an auto parts manufacturer.
The Browns start the season Sept. 9 at home against the Philadelphia Eagles.