Disney CEO Bob Iger, wife Willow Bay on verge of purchasing controlling stake in NWSL’s Angel City FC: reports

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Bob Iger is one of the most powerful figures in the media. The longtime Walt Disney Co. CEO and his wife, Willow Bay, the dean of USC’s journalism school, appear to be close to striking a deal that would see them make a significant investment in a professional women’s sports franchise.

The pending investment from Iger and Bay would allow the couple to succeed Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian as Angel City FC’s largest shareholder. 

The deal would also see the sports franchise’s value jump to a record-setting $300 million, as first reported by Semafor

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Angel City FC plays home games at BMO Stadium in Los Angeles and is a member of the 14-team National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL). The investment from Iger and Bay would likely be around $50 million.

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According to the Los Angeles Times, Ohanian raised concerns about the team’s finances last year. The franchise’s board then hired New York investment bank Moelis & Co.

The previous valuation for a NWSL franchise was set in March by the San Diego Wave when the team sold for $120 million. 

Los Angeles was awarded the expansion team in 2020. Angel City FC kicked off their inaugural season in 2022.

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Since its inception, the team has been led by a majority female ownership group led by actress Natalie Portman, venture capitalist Kara Nortman, entrepreneur Julie Uhrman, as well as Ohanian and other investors. Ohanian has represented the franchise on the NWSL’s board of governors. 

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The franchise reportedly rejected an offer from Avram Glazer to take a controlling stake in the team. Glazer is a part-owner of the Premier League’s Manchester United and the Glazer family also owns the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

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