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NFL’s Browns Bought by James Haslam for More Than $1 Billion

Aug. 2 (Bloomberg) -- The Cleveland Browns were bought for more than $1 billion by James Haslam III, the head of the nation’s largest truck stop operator and the brother of Tennessee’s governor.

Financial terms weren’t disclosed in news releases sent by the team and Haslam’s representatives. The price exceeded $1 billion, a person with direct knowledge of the deal said on condition of anonymity because the price wasn’t made public.

Haslam, 58, is a part owner of the National Football League’s Pittsburgh Steelers and president of Pilot Travel Centers LLC, the nation’s largest operator of travel centers and truck stops. His brother is Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam.

“We are committed to keeping the team in Cleveland and seeing it get back to the elite of the NFL,” Haslam said in the release.

Lerner, 50, who also owns English Premier League soccer team Aston Villa, said last week he was talking to Haslam about “making an investment” in the team and he would share further details at a later date.

“While as fiduciary I have always felt it was my responsibility to listen to offers, I had not been approached with a proposal that felt as natural and complete as Mr. Haslam’s,” Lerner said in a statement. “He had done a lot of work on the Browns and the city of Cleveland and, first and foremost, gave me his personal assurance the team would remain in Cleveland.”

There are at least 15 NFL teams with values above $1 billion, according Forbes magazine, ranging from the Dallas Cowboys at $1.85 billion to the Carolina Panthers at $1 billion.

To contact the reporter on this story: Aaron Kuriloff in New York at; or Curtis Eichelberger in Wilmington at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Sillup at

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