Mellody Hobson among ownership group seeking to purchase Denver Broncos

Walmart heir Rob Walton will be the majority owner.

Finance executive Mellody Hobson, co-CEO of Chicago-based Ariel Investment, may become a minority owner of the Denver Broncos.

As reported by USA Today Sports, Hobson, 53, is a partner in the ownership group led by Walmart heir Rob Walton that has agreed to buy the NFL team for $4.65 billion, pending league approval. Walton will be the majority owner, while his daughter, Carrie Walton Penner, and her husband, Greg Penner, will become minority owners.

Mellody Hobson
Mellody Hobson is part of a group that hopes to buy the Denver Broncos football team. (Getty Images / File)

“Beyond her role at Ariel, Mellody is an influential leader in corporate and civic organizations across the nation,” Walton said in a press release, according to the report. “Mellody currently serves as Chair of the Board of Starbucks Corporation and is also a director of JPMorgan Chase. We know she will bring her strategic acumen and leadership perspective to our team.”

As reported previously by theGrio, the Denver Broncos were valued at $3.75 billion in 2021. In order to purchase a controlling interest of 30 percent, a $1.125 billion investment was required and, according to NFL guidelines, prospective buyers could not have more than $1 billion in debt.

Following the death of Broncos owner Pat Bowlen in 2019, his children reportedly fought over their inheritance and ownership of the Denver Broncos franchise until a settlement was reached in January. The team was put up for sale in February. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell previously said the league wanted the team to sell to a diverse ownership group.

“We would love to see a diverse owner of the team,” Goodell said, according to KUSA-TV’s Mike Klis. “Whether that’s a person of color, or a female, or a Black man — we think that would be a really positive step for us. And something we’ve encouraged. And one of the reasons we’ve reached out to find candidates who can do that.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has said he wants the new owners of the Denver Broncos to include members from under-represented groups. (Drew Lock/Getty Images)

“The Broncos are selling the team, not the NFL. We would have approval rights. But I think we’ll be very clear, and we have already been clear with the Broncos that [diversity] is something we would seek to have in the ownership.”

The pending new owners include two women, and Hobson, a Black woman, is highly regarded as one of the country’s most powerful executives. The wife and mother of one 8-year-old daughter is a native of Chicago and a graduate of Princeton University. Hobson lives in Los Angeles with her husband, filmmaker George Lucas, and their daughter, Everest Hobson Lucas.

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