Englewood (AP): The Waltons, heirs to the Walmart fortune and America’s richest family, have won the bidding to purchase the Denver Broncos in the most expensive deal for a sports franchise anywhere in the world.
The Broncos announced late Tuesday night they had entered into a sale agreement with the Walton-Penner ownership group led by Rob Walton, his daughter, Carrie Walton Penner, and her husband, Greg Penner.
Terms of the sale weren’t disclosed, but KUSA-TV in Denver reported it was for $4.65 billion.
The price tag far surpasses the $3.1 billion sale last month of Chelsea, one of European soccer’s blue ribbon teams, to an American-led consortium fronted by Los Angeles Dodgers part-owner Todd Boehly.
Boehly reportedly was among the investors with one of the five finalists who were invited to make bids for the Broncos by Monday’s deadline.
The agreement for the Walmart-Penner group to buy the franchise from the Pat Bowlen Trust must be approved by the NFL, but that is considered a formality.
“While this purchase and sale agreement is pending approval from the NFL’s finance committee and league ownership, today marks a significant step on the path to an exciting new chapter in Broncos history,’’ team president and CEO Joe Ellis said in a statement.
“I have enjoyed getting to know Rob Walton, Carrie Walton Penner and Greg Penner throughout this process,’’ Ellis said. “Learning more about their background and vision for the Denver Broncos, I am confident that their leadership and support will help this team achieve great things on and off the field.’’ Rob Walton said in a statement, “We are thrilled to be selected to move forward with the purchase of the Denver Broncos! Carrie, Greg and I are inspired by the opportunity to steward this great organization in a vibrant community full of opportunity and passionate fans.

By Arnie Stapleton