Donald Trump has been chosen to advance to the next round of bidding to purchase the Buffalo Bills, a person familiar with the sale selection process told The Associated Press on Thursday.
The person said Trump was informed of the decision by Morgan Stanley, the banking firm overseeing the sale of the team for late owner Ralph Wilson's estate. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the sale is being conducted privately.
The decision comes after prospective groups were asked to submit non-binding bids by Tuesday. It's unclear which other bidders have been chosen to advance.
NHL Buffalo Sabres owners Terry and Kim Pegula submitted a bid and also are expected to advance to the next round. A Toronto group that includes rocker Jon Bon Jovi was expected to submit a bid, but it's not clear if the group had.
The deadline Tuesday was regarded as a soft one, meaning other interested parties can still submit bids until a prospective owner is identified. The time, however, is growing shorter for outside groups to become involved.
The next step is for groups who have been approved to advance is to meet with both Morgan Stanley and members of the estate to obtain the franchise's financial information. Bills President Russ Brandon also is expected to make a presentation to prospective bidders.
Once that is done in the coming weeks, groups will then be asked to submit formal bids. The bidding process is unsealed, meaning Wilson's estate will have the ability to ask groups to increase their bids.
Though no timetable has been established by Morgan Stanley, a prospective owner is could be identified by as early as Labor Day and presented to NFL owners for approval during league meetings in early October.
The Bills most recently were valued by Forbes at $870 million but are expected to sell for at least $1 billion, partly because NFL teams rarely go on the market.
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