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Randy Lerner
Born February 21, 1962 (1962-02-21) (age 47)
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
Occupation Owner of the Cleveland Browns
Owner/Chairman of Aston Villa F.C.
Net worth $1.5 billion (2008)[1]
Spouse(s) Lara Lerner
Children 4

Randolph D. Lerner (born February 21, 1962, in Brooklyn, New York) is an American entrepreneur and sports team owner.

Lerner has been the owner of the American football team, the Cleveland Browns, of the National Football League (NFL) since October 2002, and the Chairman of Aston Villa Football Club of the Premier League since 2006. His personal fortune is estimated at USD over 1.5 billion in 2008.

Lerner graduated from Columbia University in 1984, spending 1983 at Clare College in Cambridge, England. He graduated from Columbia Law School and is a member of the New York and District of Columbia Bar Associations. Prior to entering the business world, he worked as a lawyer in New York City.

Contents

Business history

Lerner's business career began at the Progressive Corporation as an investment analyst. In 1991, he started an independent investment firm with Progressive capital called Securities Advisors, Inc. (SAI), which he owned and managed until 2001. SAI initially specialized in arbitrage before shifting its focus to equity investing.

His father Al Lerner became chairman of MBNA Corporation investing 800 million of his own money in the initial public offering (IPO) of the corporation. In 1993, Randy became a director at MBNA. Upon the death of his father on October 23, 2002, Randy became company chairman. He was involved in the sale of MBNA Corporation on January 1, 2006 to Bank of America for 35 billion dollars.

Sports team ownership

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Cleveland Browns

Control of the Browns was given to Lerner, when his father, Al Lerner, died in October 2002 - four years to the day after he was awarded the new Browns franchise. He also serves as a member of the National Football League's Business Ventures Committee. Lerner has generally been a low key owner since assuming control of the franchise.

Aston Villa

During his time at Cambridge Lerner followed English football (soccer), taking an interest in three teams: Arsenal, Fulham and Aston Villa. Although he had grown up in the United States, with a father who had been involved with the original Cleveland Browns franchise under Art Modell, Lerner's interest in England's top flight endured long after he had returned to the States. On July 24, 2006 it was reported that Randy Lerner intended to purchase English Premiership club Aston Villa following a statement from Cleveland Browns management indicating Lerner was pursuing business interests in the United Kingdom. Lerner pulled out of the bid to buy Aston Villa two days later after talks with the club chairman Doug Ellis broke down but the following day reports emerged that Lerner might still make a formal £64 million bid for the club.

On August 14, 2006 it was confirmed that Lerner had reached an agreement of £62.6 million with Aston Villa for a takeover of the club. The statement to the London Stock Exchange confirmed that 60% of the club's shares, including the 39% stake of Doug Ellis had been sold to Lerner, beating competition from consortia led by Michael Neville, Nicholas Padfield QC, and Athole Still. At this stage, the sale still awaited the approval of the shareholders of Aston Villa, although it was expected to be approved without a hitch.

On August 25, the LSE announced that Lerner had secured 59.69% of Villa shares, making him the majority shareholder. He also appointed himself Chairman of the club.

The BBC reported on September 5, 2006 that Lerner had now moved closer to taking full control of the club, after increasing his share to 85.5%.[2]

By the time that the September 18 1pm deadline had been reached RAL had acceptance of 89.69% of the share. Due to the acceptance only being 0.31% below the conditional limit, RAL accepted it and made the bid unconditional. On September 19, 2006 Aston Villa PLC executive Chairman Doug Ellis and his board resigned, to be replaced by Randy Lerner as Chairman and General Charles C. Krulak, Bob Kain and Michael Martin as non-executive directors.

At the close of the deal in 2006, Lerner became the second American owner of a Premiership club—the first being Malcolm Glazer, who purchased the majority share of Manchester United in 2005. Since then Liverpool has had American investment in the shape of George Gillett and Tom Hicks, and Arsenal in Stan Kroenke as well as Ellis Short in Sunderland. Kroenke owns a minority share in Arsenal, while Short began with a 30% stake in September 2008 and obtained 100% ownership in May 2009.

Philanthropy

Randy Lerner has supported the National Portrait Gallery since 2002. On January 23, 2008 it was announced that he had donated £5 million to the gallery, the largest single donation that it has ever received. In recognition the ground floor galleries will be named "The Lerner Galleries".[3]

For the 2008/2009 season, Aston Villa will forego traditional shirt sponsorship, which is nowadays a very lucrative sponsorship, by instead wearing on their shirts the name of a local children's hospice, Acorns. Aston Villa have recently revealed this is extended to cover 2009/2010 season.

References

  1. ^ #785 Randolph Lerner - Forbes.com
  2. ^ "Lerner closer to control of Villa". Article on BBC Sport. September 5, 2006. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/teams/a/aston_villa/5316052.stm. Retrieved September 5, 2006.  
  3. ^ "Football Boss gives gallery £5m". Article on BBC News. January 23, 2008. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/7203353.stm. Retrieved January 23, 2008.  

External links

Preceded by
Al Lerner
Cleveland Browns principal owner
2002–2008
Succeeded by
incumbent
Preceded by
John Collins
Cleveland Browns President
January 3, 2006–2008
Succeeded by
Mike Keenan

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