MBNA Corp. chairman Alfred Lerner and former San Francisco 49ers president Carmen A. Policy were granted ownership of the new Cleveland Browns late Tuesday.

Mr. Lerner, the financier of the two partners, has agreed to pay $530 million, the highest price ever paid for any professional sports team. The Browns will begin play in fall 1999.

The National Football League owners made the announcement in Chicago. Mr. Lerner was a favorite to win the bid because of his financial resources and because of Mr. Policy's reputation for managing a successful football operation.

Among the competing bidders was New York banker Howard P. Milstein. Mr. Milstein, co-chairman of Emigrant Savings Bank of New York, had enlisted David A. Daberko, chairman of Cleveland's National City Corp., as an investor. Other celebreties among the bidders included comedian Bill Cosby and former Miami Dolphins coach Don Shula.

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