Rams minority owner Stan Kroenke must have been busy over the past two months.
His attempt to buy out the remaining 60 percent ownership stake from Chip Rosenbloom, surprising on the surface, suggests Kroenke has been working hard to make sure the NFL would back his efforts.
KroenkeWe should expect all parties to emphasize process over the coming weeks, but it's an upset if Kroenke's efforts fail. There's little chance a man with Kroenke's financial credentials and knowledge of the NFL would exercise this option in vain, is there?
The assumption had been that the NFL's rules against cross-ownership might preclude Kroenke from exercising his option to purchase the Rams outright if Rosenbloom decided to sell. Kroenke had 60 days to announce his decision once Illinois businessman Shahid Khan made an offer. Kroenke already owns the NBA and NHL teams in Denver, meaning his majority ownership of the Rams could threaten the Broncos. But his deep pockets and familiarity could appeal to the league, possibly giving Kroenke the leverage he needs to push through his bid.
"We are pleased to announce that we have exercised our right to purchase the remaining interest in the St. Louis Rams football team under the terms of our Partnership Agreement," Kroenke said in a news release. "We have enjoyed our involvement in the National Football League since our original expansion efforts beginning in 1993 and our subsequent 15-year partnership with the Rams. We look forward to working with the Rosenbloom family and the NFL. We will respect the league and its processes in our efforts to complete this transaction."
Kroenke knows those processes very well. NFL owners know Kroenke. They know his finances.
"Today we received notice that Stan Kroenke has exercised his right of first refusal under the St. Louis Rams Partnership Agreement to purchase the Rosenbloom family's controlling interest in the team," Rosenbloom said in a release from the Rams. "We and our advisors will work with the National Football League as we move forward with the objective of completing a transaction for the sale of our interest in the Rams."
Kroenke's ownership bid came as a surprise. It's a bigger surprise if he made that bid without knowing it would succeed in the end.