The four Rooney brothers have told New York billionaire Stanley Druckenmiller they are turning down his offer to buy each of their 16 percent shares in the Steelers, ending a seven-month courtship in which Druckenmiller was seeking to gain controlling stock interest in the franchise.
Druckenmiller told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette he is "disappointed" and is withdrawing his name from the sale process.
However, the decision to not accept Druckenmiller's offer does not mean the Rooney brothers will sell their shares to their oldest brother, Steelers chairman Dan Rooney, who has also made an offer to purchase their combined 64 percent shares. Instead, they may opt to entertain other outside bids in an attempt to gain more money for their shares, according to sources familiar with the situation.
The four Rooney brothers held a vote this afternoon and called Druckenmiller, chairman of Pittsburgh-based Duquesne Capital Management, with their decision.
In a prepared statement sent to the Post-Gazette, Druckenmiller said, "Seven months ago, I was approached by members of the Rooney family about purchasing their interest in the Pittsburgh Steelers. I engaged in discussions about a possible transaction because a number of family members told me that, after years of effort, they were unlikely to be able to resolve the estate planning and NFL ownership matters of great concern to them.
"If an external solution was necessary, I believed that I could provide the family with an appropriate transaction that also would be in the best long-term interests of the Steelers, the NFL and the city of Pittsburgh. The solution I proposed included a request that Dan Rooney continue to manage the Steelers organization.
"Throughout our discussions, I made clear that if the family could resolve these matters internally it should do so and I would gladly remain only a devoted Steelers fan. Based on recent developments, it has become clear that the Rooneys need substantial additional time to assess their options. I do not wish to complicate these efforts, and I also do not want the lingering uncertainty about my possible involvement to become a distraction to my business and my family.
"For these reasons, I have removed myself from the process. On a personal note, having spent time with all five Rooney brothers, I have come to hold them all in high regard, and it is easy to see why the organization has been so successful. Given my love for Pittsburgh and what I know the team means to the city, I wish them all the same success they have had in the past. Go Steelers!"
First Published September 18, 2008 11:30 PM