IRVING, Texas -- Shahid Khan was 16 when he moved from Pakistan to the United States to attend the University of Illinois. While hanging out in the basement of his fraternity house, he began his American dream of owning an NFL team.
After building a multibillion-dollar company, Khan reached out to owners such as Wayne Weaver of the Jacksonville Jaguars to learn the business from the inside, and for them to get to know him.
Kahn's dream-turned-plan crossed the goal line Wednesday, when his purchase of the Jaguars from Weaver was unanimously approved by the other NFL owners. The deal is for an estimated $760 million; the ownership transfer will be complete Jan. 4.
"What I want to share with the Jacksonville fans is: Here I am, reporting for duty and ready to serve the fans. Let the fun begin," Khan said during a news conference.
The 61-year-old Khan is the league's first minority owner. But that's not the only reason he stands out among his 31 peers. There's also the prominent mustache he's fancied since 1972, a trademark that he joked enables him to leap tall buildings and "do things I didn't know I could do."
Upon graduating from college in 1971, Khan went to work at Flex-N-Gate as an engineering manager. He left in 1978 to start his own company, Bumper Works, and two years later bought his former employer. His privately held company is now a major manufacturer of bumper systems for pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles built in North America. Revenue last year topped $3 billion, and Khan is believed to be a billionaire.
He tried buying the St. Louis Rams last year before landing this deal in late November. The league's finance committee formally approved Khan's bid last week. When the agenda item came up Wednesday, there wasn't a single question, or a single dissenting vote.
To Jacksonville fans, the biggest questions are his commitment to keeping the team in their city and to turning around a franchise that's struggling in the standings. He made it clear that he's passionate about both.
"This is a partnership, really, with the fans," Khan said. "I am committed obviously to the rebirth, the reinvigoration, doing whatever it takes to put a winner on the field to make Wayne and the other Jacksonvillians proud."
He will be in Jacksonville this weekend to start meeting with fans and sponsors. He and Weaver also will discuss the process of hiring a new coach; Weaver fired Jack Del Rio on Nov. 29, the same day he announced the deal with Khan.
Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press