CLEVELAND (WATE) - Jimmy Haslam, president of Pilot Travel Centers and a minority partner in the Pittsburgh Steelers, is in negotiations to buy into the Cleveland Browns, according to owner Randy Lerner.
The Browns denied rumors in June that the club was for sale, but those rumors resurfaced in recent weeks.
Lerner released a statement Friday saying: "In connection with current rumors and press inquiries, I can report that I've been approached by Mr. Jimmy Haslam, who is interested in making an investment in the Cleveland Browns. We are currently in negotiations and both sides have agreed to keep that dialogue and its details private. Given that any transaction would require League approval, care has been taken so that this process will not be disruptive to the organization, in particular the football team, as it prepares for the upcoming season. We will share further details or make an announcement if it becomes necessary."
Pilot Travel Centers is the nation's largest retail operator of travel centers and truck-stops. Jimmy Haslam's father, James, Jr., founded the company in 1958.
The NFL approved Jimmy Haslam as a minority partner in the Steelers in December 2008. His brother, Bill Haslam, is the governor of Tennessee and former mayor of Knoxville.
Forbes ranks the Cleveland Browns as the 30th most valuable sports team in the world, with a worth of $977 million.