Packers add more than 250K shareholders in stock sale

MILWAUKEE -- The Green Bay Packers sold more than 268,000 shares in their most recent stock offering, raising $67 million dollars to help fund stadium improvements, the team said Thursday.

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The NFL's only publicly owned team added more than 250,000 new shareholders during the six-week offering, raising its total to more than 360,000 part-owners of the team.

"I was really pleased with the way our fans responded," Mark Murphy, the team's president and CEO, said. "I was a little surprised, to be honest, but on the other hand I'm never surprised by the passion and loyalty of our fans."

The team initially offered 250,000 shares for sale starting Dec. 6. But the allotment went quickly, with 185,000 shares alone sold within the first 48 hours. So the team made another 30,000 available.

About half the sales came from Wisconsin, which is famous for its rabid Packers fans, known as cheeseheads. Sales were also brisk in the home states of two of the team's top rivals, the Chicago Bears and Minnesota Vikings.

The shares weren't cheap, costing $250 each plus handling fees of $25 in the U.S. and $35 in Canada. They're also essentially worthless.

Packers stock isn't like regular stock. Its value doesn't increase, there are no dividends, it has virtually no re-sale value and it doesn't give buyers any advantage over the 93,000 people on the waiting list for season tickets.

What buyers do get is a piece of paper declaring them a team owner and conferring rights to attend and vote at the annual stockholder meeting, which is held at Lambeau Field each summer before training camp. They also get access to a special line of shareholder apparel.

Those perks are only fringe benefits for Packers fan Connie Overmier, 60, a Wisconsin native who now lives in Ossian, Ind.

"This was an opportunity that we were not going to pass up," Overmier said. "It's the Packers. I want to be an owner. I want to be a part of them."

Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press