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Two firms propose $3.5B bid to buy all 30 NHL teams
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Old 03 Mar 2005, 07:36 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Two firms propose $3.5B bid to buy all 30 NHL teams

BOSTON (AP) -- Two Boston companies have offered NHL owners a way out of their labor woes: Sell the entire league -- pucks, Penguins and penalty boxes -- for more than $3 billion.

Bain Capital Partners LLC and Game Plan LLC made the proposal Tuesday in New York, where NHL owners were meeting to discuss their next step in the lockout that canceled the entire 2004-05 season. The offer received an icy welcome.

"I don't think it's realistic, and I don't think there's much interest, and I know there's no interest on the part of the Bruins," said Jeremy Jacobs, whose Delaware North Cos. owns the Boston team, its building, part of its TV broadcaster and the concession contracts for several NHL clubs. "And I think it takes 30 (team owners) to do it."

The Toronto Star and Globe and Mail reported Thursday that NHL commissioner Gary Bettman invited the two Boston companies to present the offer. If accepted, the league would become a single entity, an ownership structure where most decisions are dictated by the central office and the teams have the autonomy of a fast food franchisee.

Sports leagues structured in that way -- Major League Soccer and the WNBA among them -- have been able to avoid some antitrust scrutiny in the courts, and that can translate into greater power in labor negotiations. But it's never been tried with a borderline major league with a strong union, and smaller single entities like the XFL and the WUSA have failed.

Steve Ross, a sports law professor at the University of Illinois Law School, said courts would want to examine whether the new arrangement stifled competition.

"If some investment firm wanted to buy Ford and General Motors and Honda and Toyota, that would be illegal," he said. "I think that would be a huge problem for them."

Steve Pagliuca, Bain's managing director and a part-owner of the Boston Celtics, did not return e-mails seeking comment. Game Plan recently acted as an adviser on the sale of the Ottawa Senators.

Mired in a lockout since Sept. 16, the NHL last month became the first major North American pro sports league to cancel an entire season. The league has said its teams have lost a collective $500 million over the past two seasons.

Before the work stoppage, the total value of the 30 NHL franchises was estimated by Forbes Magazine at $4.9 billion. The Detroit Red Wings topped the list at $266 million, with the Edmonton Oilers last at $86 million. The value of team-owned arenas was part of the assessment.

An offer of between $3 billion and $3.5 billion would translate to between $100 million to $117 million per team.

"What it does say is that there are people out there that see much more potential and value in hockey if the league is run properly," said Andrew Zimbalist, a Smith College professor who specializes in the business of sports. "They think the asset value of the franchises has been so depreciated by mismanagement and the lockout that there's an opportunity to get a bargain."

But the offer has several problems from the start.

First, the outgoing NHL owners would have to agree on how to divide the money, and big market owners might feel that their franchises were undervalued. "Even if it is a good deal for the league as a whole, I think owners are not going to be able to agree how to split up the spoils," Ross said.

A bigger problem is that, by selling their hockey team, owners who also own their buildings or networks might be selling off the synergy that makes the whole thing profitable.

"No independent offer for all their hockey assets can realize the full value of their leverage," Ross said. "It sort of proves what (union head) Bob Goodenow has been saying all along: If that was the only source of income, the owners should like the idea. But the amount of income they derive from hockey is significantly in excess of that."

And, though selling out would relieve the current owners of their labor headaches, the buyers still have to negotiate a labor contract with the NHL players' association.

"Goodenow is going to be no more favorably disposed to make a deal with a single entity than to make a deal with Bettman," Zimbalist said. "I think he would be more resistant."

The Globe and Mail said Bain and Game Plan could make the deal work by generating more local television, sponsorship and revenue instead of competing against one another. They reportedly told the NHL owners it had arranged for a large Canadian-based financier to join its efforts.

Bill Daly, the NHL's chief legal officer, issued a statement confirming that the companies offered to buy the league's 30 teams but declined further comment. He told the Globe and Mail that the league was compelled to listen to the offer.

"When someone's offering over $3 billion," he said, "we felt we had an obligation to the board to have them, at least, hear it from the proposed purchaser."

NHLPA senior director Ted Saskin declined to comment on the offer.

"Given that I have no firsthand knowledge of what was proposed, and since the NHL has expressed no interest in pursuing the offer, I see no reason to comment on it," Saskin said.

Copyright 2004 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/200....ap/index.html
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Old 03 Mar 2005, 08:26 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Sounds like a bad investment to me...

Late.
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Old 04 Mar 2005, 11:12 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Sounds like a bad investment to me...

Late.
lmfao.


I bet there are a few owners in the NHL that would do this. But this will never fly with teams like Detroit, Toronto and Boston.

I would love to buy the NHL then shut down 15 teams.
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Old 04 Mar 2005, 11:31 AM   #4 (permalink)
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The really sad thing is that I love Hockey. My kids love hockey, my son is looking forward to going back to his skating lessons, he loves practicing his stick and puckwork, he's got a pretty good slapshot for a 4 year old...

I'm really depressed about it, but years ago when Philly signed Chris freaking Gratton to a $30 million contract, I saw this coming. It's funny that the owners want a salary cap and blame the players when they were the people who started offering marginally good players superstar money with about half the fan base they needed to do so.

Late.
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Old 04 Mar 2005, 01:56 PM   #5 (permalink)
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i say it's everybody's fault. But one group that you do not hear being blamed is the agents. they get a % of whatever the player makes. so the bigger the contract the more $$$ the agent get's.
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Old 04 Mar 2005, 02:02 PM   #6 (permalink)
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i say it's everybody's fault. But one group that you do not hear being blamed is the agents. they get a % of whatever the player makes. so the bigger the contract the more $$$ the agent get's.
Sho nuff, but still the owners were dumb enough to pay that much money while knowing they wouldn't be able to maintain. The owners have been bitching about losing money for years, and unlike the baseball owners, they weren't lying. Still, I have no sympathy for people or organizations that live beyond their means and then get rolled under the 8 ball when it comes back around.

Late.
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Old 04 Mar 2005, 02:32 PM   #7 (permalink)
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^Thats right. Its ridiculous seeing someone like Bobby Holik...the same guy who is a third line center, get 9 million a year. At the same time this was happening the owners will adding money to their war chest or whatever the hell their calling it.

Both sides are retarded, but you can't blame a few players for being paid big money. I still don't get why people still think the players are writing these checks.

I'm sick of talking about the lockout. I'm glad the topic will die until the middle of the summer when they still haven't reached a deal and everyone is freaking out.

Until then...
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Old 04 Mar 2005, 02:37 PM   #8 (permalink)
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MLS did somthing similar, where Lamar Hunt (KC Chiefs owner) owned just about every team.

Like Reb said the Rangers, Wings, Leafs ect. of the world won't go for it, but I can name 10 teams that would love it.
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Old 04 Mar 2005, 02:51 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Rebel
lmfao.


I bet there are a few owners in the NHL that would do this. But this will never fly with teams like Detroit, Toronto and Boston.

I would love to buy the NHL then shut down 15 teams.
Yeah. Owners like Mike Ilitch love their team too much to sell it. Also I don't think this would work because, if there were only one owner....where would the competition be to have the best team?
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Old 04 Mar 2005, 04:25 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Desi Arnaz
MLS did somthing similar, where Lamar Hunt (KC Chiefs owner) owned just about every team.

Like Reb said the Rangers, Wings, Leafs ect. of the world won't go for it, but I can name 10 teams that would love it.
Actually, given that their payroll has looked increasingly like they were the New York Yankees and not the New York Rangers...added to the fact that they've sucked as bad as a professional team can suck...the Rangers might actually go for the deal.

Late.
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Old 04 Mar 2005, 05:37 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Naa, the Rangers problems have been coaching and lack of system. If their talent plays up to hype, they are a playoff team.
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