Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Purchase bid for Phoenix Coyotes reportedly exceeds Jim Balsillie's offer

Could a rival bid to purchase the Phoenix Coyotes be what fans in Arizona are searching for in order for their team to stay in town?

Kevin McGran of the Toronto Star reported earlier today that Sports Properties Investment Corporation has set aside a significant amount of money to possibly purchase an available National Hockey League franchise. It may exceed BlackBerry founder Jim Balsillie's $212.5 million offer on May 5th, the day that outgoing owner Jerry Moyes filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. McGran wrote:

"Sports Properties Investment Corp. – a New York investment firm that's flush with cash – was working with Chicago sports magnate Jerry Reinsdorf to buy the Phoenix Coyotes one day before the team filed for bankruptcy protection.

According to documents obtained by the Arizona Republic, Tony Tavares, a former baseball executive who runs Sports Properties Acquisition Corp., signed an agreement May 4 with the city of Glendale, where the Coyotes play their home games at Arena.

The document did not reveal a purchase price, but the Republic says Sports Properties has $215 million (all figures U.S.) in a trust account to buy "sports and leisure properties." The publicly traded firm refers to itself as a "blank check" business that last month was trying to acquire the NHL's Florida Panthers, according to published reports."

Meantime, at today's follow-up court hearing in downtown Phoenix, United States bankruptcy judge Redfield T. Baum decided to set the next hearing for June 9th to settle the relocation issue. The reason for the moving up of the court date is because Balsillie stated he will withdraw his offer if the sale is not completed by the end of June.

NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly says the league will appeal if it loses at the bankruptcy court level.

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