• Hornets minority owner Sabates among investors considering Panthers bid

    Updated:

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Charlotte Hornets minority owner Felix Sabates hasn’t ruled out submitting a bid to purchase the Carolina Panthers.

    Sabates said it’s possible he will do just that, but as part of a team of local investors interested in purchasing the NFL franchise.

    [READ: Panthers owner Richardson stepping away from day-to-day operations]

    Current Panthers owner Jerry Richardson announced Sunday that he’s decided to sell the team at the end of the season. 

    [READ: Panthers owner Jerry Richardson to sell team at end of season]

    Richardson is currently under investigation by the NFL following claims of workplace misconduct.

    Richardson has not acknowledged those allegations.

    RELATED: Panthers could attract several buyers with deep pockets, experts say]

    Sabates said a group of six investors started discussing their interest in buying the team the same day the Panthers announced an internal investigation into claims against Richardson.

    The group is made up of business professionals who live in the Charlotte area or have a “major presence” in the city.

    “They're not looking to make money. They’re looking for appreciation long term,” Sabates said. “For us, staying in this community, staying in this TV market, is very important.”

    Sabates said he also reached out to the recently named Panthers chief operating officer, Tina Becker, regarding the next steps in the sale process.

    Richardson said he would not entertain sale offers until the Panthers season is over.

    “I respect that. So I don't need to talk to anybody between now and then,” Sabates said. “When the bid process starts, we're going to be there.”

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