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Stock sale closes; shares top 268,000


The fifth stock sale in team history closed at midnight Wednesday with the Packers raising almost half of the money needed for the Lambeau Field expansion that's already underway.

Final sale numbers are not yet available, but more than 268,000 shares were sold at $250 apiece during the 12-week sale, contributing roughly $67 million in revenue toward the $143 million Lambeau project.

"For budgeting purposes, we looked at what we did last time and estimated conservatively at $25 million," Packers President/CEO Mark Murphy said, referring to the 1997 stock sale's proceeds. "When you step back from it, it far exceeded our expectations."

In the first two days of the sale in early December, 185,000 shares were sold, as the convergence of the Christmas season and the team's undefeated record at the time produced immediate demand. In the final weeks of the sale, regulatory clearance was gained to sell stock in Canada, leading to roughly 2,000 shares purchased across the border.

"It's a tribute to the organization, the support of our fans, and the uniqueness of the Packers," Murphy said. "I think that really appeals to people. You can't say enough about how appreciative we are for the support."

Wisconsin fans purchased approximately 50 percent of the shares in this sale, by far the most by one state but a lower percentage than in 1997. Illinois and California were next with 8.5 percent apiece, followed by Minnesota and Texas with 5 percent each.

Before considering a stock sale, the Packers had secured all the financing necessary for the Lambeau expansion, which is adding two high-definition video boards and a new north-side entrance tower in 2012, and then 6,700 additional seats and a new entrance gate in the south end zone in 2013. The money from the stock sale reduces considerably the amount the team needs to borrow to finance the Lambeau project.

The sale more than tripled the team's total number of shareholders. More than 250,000 new shareholders were added to the existing 112,000, bringing the franchise's total to more than 360,000 shareholders.

That almost certainly will lead to the franchise's largest shareholders meeting this coming summer, which in the past has been attended by between 10,000 and 20,000 people, some the guests of shareholders.

Murphy said the organization is discussing how to conduct this year's meeting, given potential logistical issues, depending on how many shareholders desire to attend.

"We're looking at all the different aspects of it," he said.

The shareholders meeting, traditionally held in late July, is expected to serve this year as the unveiling of the new video boards inside Lambeau Field.

"I think people are going to be blown away by the new scoreboards," Murphy said. "They're going to enhance the gameday experience for all of our fans."

Murphy added that the long-term impact of this stock sale will be significant, as well.

"Our fans are much more loyal and have a stronger bond with the organization because of our ownership structure," he said. "To triple the number of shareholders, giving that many more fans a tie to the Packers, it really bodes well for the future in terms of the support we're going to have in the years ahead."

For more from Murphy on the stock sale closing, check out the blog.

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