York shares reason for shift in 49ers' principal ownership

York shares reason for shift in 49ers' principal ownership originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

ORLANDO, Fla. — The York family owns 97 percent of the 49ers, and that is the way they expect to keep it for a long, long time.

Jed York, 43, who has served as 49ers CEO since 2010, purchased enough equity from his mother, Denise DeBartolo York, to become the principal owner of the franchise. His parents, John and Denise, will remain in their positions as co-chairs of the organization, York said.

“It’s much more of a long-term family-planning thing and making sure this team stays in our family for generations to come,” York said when NBC Sports Bay Area asked him Tuesday about the ownership transition at the NFL Annual Meeting.

Edward DeBartolo Sr. purchased the 49ers for $13 million in 1977 from Jane and Josephine Morabito, the wives of original franchise owners Tony and Victor Morabito.

Controlling ownership of the 49ers passed from Edward DeBartolo Jr. to his sister, Denise, in a 2000 settlement after DeBartolo stepped aside following his involvement in a Louisiana gambling fraud scandal.

In the past 23 years, the value of the 49ers has risen from $379 million to $6 billion, according to Forbes.

Jed York's rise to become the 49ers’ principal owner is a move designed to avoid a possible future family conflict, such as those that have turned messy in recent years with the New Orleans Saints, Carolina Panthers, Denver Broncos and Tennessee Titans.

York said observing the problems other NFL families have experienced with their succession plans inspired his family to avoid the possibility that the reading of a will would determine the future ownership of the franchise.

“We thought it was a better process to transition into it smoothly,” York said. “Being a very close family, I don’t ever anticipate any problems with my family. But it’s an easier, smoother transition to make sure that this team stays in our family.”

Jed York is the eldest of four siblings. His twin sisters, Jenna and Mara, own and operate a winery in Napa Valley. His brother Tony passed away at the age of 35 in 2018. Jed York and his wife, Danielle, have 11- and 8-year-old sons.

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