JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (Reuters) -- The owner of a major U.S.-based auto supplier on Tuesday agreed to purchase the Jacksonville Jaguars pro football team from owner Wayne Weaver.
Pakistani-born businessman Shahid Khan, owner of Flex-N-Gate Corp. in Urbana, Ill. since 1980, has been in the market for an NFL franchise for the last few years. He attempted to buy the St. Louis Rams last year.
Flex-N-Gate ranks No. 54 on the Automotive News list of the top 100 global parts suppliers with worldwide sales to automakers of $3.0 billion in 2010. The company -- which makes a variety of bumpers, fascias, running boards, and other stamped parts -- employs over 12,000 people at 57 facilities in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Spain and Argentina.
The sale of the Jaguars, who earlier on Tuesday announced that head coach Jack Del Rio has been fired, is subject to the approval of the NFL and its team owners.
"Shahid Khan is a great American success story and he will be an outstanding owner for this franchise and for this community," Weaver said at a news conference.
The Jaguars, who are 3-8 this season and eliminated from playoff contention, have a league-low estimated value of $725 million, according to a Forbes study published in September.
"Owning a team in the National Football League has long been my personal and professional goal," said Khan, who came to the United States from Pakistan in 1967 at the age of 16.
"Becoming the owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars would be a dream come true for me and my family."
Jaguars' chairman and CEO Weaver and his partners had owned the team since 1993 when they won an expansion franchise for Jacksonville.
The team's loss on Sunday was followed by a decision on Tuesday to fire longtime coach Del Rio, who was 11 games into his ninth season with the NFL team.