The Bhathal family is in “exclusive talks” to purchase the NWSL’s Portland Thorns, Sportico reported on Wednesday.
The Bhathals, investors in the NBA’s Sacramento Kings, emerged from a group of multiple bidders, per the report.
“No purchase agreement has been signed and the talks could still fall apart,” the report said. “Any deal would also be subject to league approval.”
The Thorns have been on the market since late 2022 after a lengthy investigation into abuse in women’s soccer. The NWSL accused Thorns leadership of failing to take appropriate action in light of allegations of player abuse and sexual misconduct against former head coach Paul Riley.
Sportico valued the Thorns, one of the NWSL’s eight original teams, at $65 million.
Merritt Paulson, who also owns the Portland Timbers of MLS, has owned the Thorns since the league was founded in 2012.
Raj Bhathal, a swimwear magnate, and his son, Alex, were part of the consortium that purchased a majority stake in the Kings from the Maloof family in 2013.
Representatives for the Bhathal family did not reply to Sportico’s request for comments. BDT Capital, the firm retained to sell the team, declined to comment.