DENVER (AP) -- A Wal-Mart heir who owns 40 percent of the St. Louis Rams agreed today to buy the Colorado Avalanche, Denver Nuggets and Pepsi Center for $450 million, edging out a competing bid from John Elway.
Stan Kroenke had been interested in buying a majority ownership in the teams since negotiations with another prospective buyer collapsed last fall.
"I think your responsibility as an owner to your team and to your community is to support the team ... to make the right decision to bring you these winning teams," he said. "We lookforward to having the opportunity to do that in Denver."
Kroenke agreed to terms with Liberty Media Group, which purchased the teams as part of its acquisition of Ascent Entertainment Group.
The sale must be approved by the NBA and NHL. The NHL said today it plans to review the sale as soon as possible. The NFL said the agreement presents no conflict of cross-ownership because Kroenke does not own a majority stake of the Rams.
The agreement ends a tumultuous, year-long effort to find a new buyer for the NHL and NBA teams and the arena in which they play.
One bid collapsed last year after shareholders in Ascent Entertainment sued. A second bid fell through after the prospective buyer would not agree to terms to keep the teams in Denver for 25 years.
Last weekend, a group including former Broncos great Elway, Broncos owner Pat Bowlen and New Jersey Devils owner John McMullen had announced they had city approval to buy the team. However, that attempt also failed.
Liberty Media Corp. of Denver acquired the teams and the arena when it agreed to buy Ascent Entertainment Group in February. It had planned to sell them within six months.
Kroenke, 52, is the brother-in-law of Bill and Nancy Laurie whose $400 million offer was rejected by Ascent stockholders last year.
Kroenke's 40 percent stake in the Rams reportedly is worth an estimated $80 million. His wife is a niece of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton.
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