The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported today that the four Rooney brothers have signed the paperwork to sell all or part of their shares to the new investment group headed by Dan and Art Rooney II.
Under the terms of the agreement, which was reached last November, middle brother Tim and Pat, the oldest of the twins, will sell all of their shares in the Steelers, amounting to 16%. Art Rooney Jr. and John Rooney, will sell about half of their shares.
The McGinley family, which currently controls 20% of the team will also sell part of their shares. How much is not known, but it is not believed to be a large amount.
When Art Rooney Sr. died in 1987, he left each of his sons equal shares of the team. They operated as equal partners, and it was believed that some sort of a buyout was in the offering at some point, if for no other reasons than estate planning.
Decision Day Brought Forward by NFL Anti-Gambling Guidelines
The Rooney family has long had interests in race tracks, some of which now have slot machines and video poker, which runs in conflict to the NFL’s anti-gambling policies. The NFL ordered the Rooneys to either divest themselves of their stakes in the tracks, or sell the Steelers.
Dan Rooney (and presumably Art Jr. and John) opted to get out of the racetrack business, while Tim and Pat will continue to be involved in running the tracks.
The Rooneys have been coy in revealing how much each of the new partners will control, but today the Post-Gazette article termed Hollywood producer Thomas Tull, James Haslam III of Tennessee and the Paul family of Pittsburgh as “major investors” in the group.
Rooney, McGinley Famlies Still to Control Large Majority of Steelers Stock
It has been reported that Dan and Art II will control about 30% of the team’s stock, with John and Art Jr. controlling 16% between them, and the McGinley’s controlling close to their existing 20%.
Together that would leave the Rooney-McGinley family in control of 66% of the team with the new investors controlling the other 34%. (Note - when we first wrote this we got the math wrong, and thanks to Carl Prine's reporting in the Tribune-Review, it now appears that the McGinley family will sell a larger portion of their stake than anticipated.)
The same Post-Gazette story indicated that the deal would formally close in about two weeks. The deal was supposed to close during the spring, but had to be postponed because additional money needed to be raised, although Art Rooney II indicated that the sum was not large.
Steel Curtain Rising to Say More on John Stallworth Soon
Another, presumably “minor,” investor is NFL Hall of Famer and former Steelers wideout John Stallworth. When the deal is complete, Steel Curtain Rising will offer a comprehensive look at John Stallworth and his legacy with the Steelers.
So stay tuned!