Owners could vote on the sale of the Panthers at their meeting in Atlanta next month if a winning bid is chosen before then.
Ben Navarro, the owner of the investment firm Sherman Financial Group, and Alan Kestenbaum, the chief executive of Bedrock industries—a company that owns and operates metal and mining companies—are among the bidders remaining to buy the Panthers, Ken Belson of The New York Times reports.
Belson reports that David Tepper, the minority owner of the Steelers who was reportedly the favorite among the other owners to purchase the Panthers, has backed out of the bidding process, leaving only Navarro and Kestenbaum still vying for ownership of the team. According to Belson, Tepper and Fanatics owner Michael Rubin, who also reportedly backed out of the bidding process for Carolina recently, both decided the $2.5 billion asking price was too much.
However, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports Tepper called several people on Monday to tell them personally that he was still in the process to purchasing the team.
Belson also reports that people close to the bidding process say Navarro's bid for the team was $2.6 billion, but it is not clear if he will need other investors to help him pay that price.
Team owners were told during the most recent league meetings that a bid could be approved by late April, and the owners could potentially vote on the sale of the team at the next owners meeting in May in Atlanta, according to Belson. If the league finds nothing wrong with the winning bidder, at least 24 owners will have to vote in favor of the sale in order for it to go through.
The Panthers were put up for sale in December after a Sports Illustrated report on workplace misconduct by team founder Jerry Richardson. The league opened an investigation into Richardson due to the allegations of sexual harassment and the use of a racial slur.