Friday, December 15, 2006

Bye-bye Balsillie

It's my day off, it's Friday night and I hadn't planned on writing anything — but this is pretty huge news.
Canadian billionaire Jim Balsillie has pulled his bid to purchase the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Sources tell TSN at the last moment the NHL provided a list of terms that Balsillie didn't want to agree to.
As quickly as he arrived on the scene, a coronation that began with a patio-side chat on Hockey Night in Canada with Ron MacLean, Canadian billionaire Jim Balsillie is back out the door — and you have to wonder what has changed in the past few weeks in order to bring about these mysterious "terms" that have caused him to balk.

My guess is the NHL feels an arena deal is all but a certainty now in Pittsburgh, and given the team the Penguins currently have, that suddenly makes the likelihood of finding another owner — one who doesn't have an eye for moving the club as Mr. BlackBerry obviously did — much greater. There's also the possibility that Mario Lemieux may have changed his mind about divesting what could be one of the league's most valuable franchises in a few years time.

If it's not already (they might as well start marketing the team's star as $idney Cro$by).

The Penguins will be holding a press conference at 8:10 p.m. tonight, during the first intermission of tonight's home game against the New York Islanders, and perhaps I'll flip it on to see if we learn anything more. Stay tuned.

UPDATE The Mirtle blog's in-house expert Cousin BJ is not impressed with league commissioner Gary Bettman on this one: "What's with the clause that says the NHL can step in and take over if they feel it necessary?!? That's ridiculous... they didn't say @#$& when Quebec City and Winnipeg up and moved.

"Bettman just wants his American market — his dream of becoming the NFL on ice. Seriously.... if I'm going to invest $175-million and buy an investment, I'm not going to do it if I'm being told that I can potentially lose control of it if some third party deems it necessary."

9 Comments:

At 10:11 PM, December 15, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's too bad that Bettman pulled a move like this. I don't blame Balsillie for pulling out. Hopefully they can find another owner...who will bring them to Canada ;)

 
At 10:54 PM, December 15, 2006, Anonymous nicanor said...

The Mirtle blog's in-house expert Cousin BJ is not impressed with league commissioner Gary Bettman on this one: "What's with the clause that says the NHL can step in and take over if they feel it necessary?!? That's ridiculous... they didn't say @#$& when Quebec City and Winnipeg up and moved.

"Bettman just wants his American market — his dream of becoming the NFL on ice. Seriously.... if I'm going to invest $175-million and buy an investment, I'm not going to do it if I'm being told that I can potentially lose control of it if some third party deems it necessary."


I think it was two seperate clauses to the deal. He could not move the team, and the league could step in. Not sure which broke the deal as I did not watch the press conference. I love hockey and the Penguins, but do not care for the suits.

Oh, and Fuck You to Shane. I am sorry that the Nordiques moved to Coloradish, and the Jets moved to Phoenix, but fuck you, I don't want my team to move. Did either of those teams change ownership then move, or were they the same owners that saw more dollars in the states? I don't care if the Pens are winnning cups, going bankrupt, or how many times Mario has to bail us out, I want to go and see Penguins games. So, ha ha, fuck you, Shane :)

 
At 12:37 AM, December 16, 2006, Anonymous Cousin BJ said...

I don't want the Penguins to move either. They have a rich history and it would be simply awkward if they left ... my main problem is with Bettman and his grand vision for the league.

I can't stand the guy and the way he tries to come across as the best friend of the fans. For me, it goes all the way back to expansion (read: over-expansion) and has snowballed into mediocrity from there. Being a die-hard fan was never as difficult as it's proving to be at present.

 
At 2:37 AM, December 16, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's possible that Batman just used Balsillie as a stalking horse to give the Pennsylvania Gaming people the proper "motivation" to award the casino licence. As in, "well, if the Pens don't get this new arena, we have a guy here who's going to move the team to Kitchener-Waterloo. Just sayin."
Watch for Balsillie to reappear as an NHL owner somewhere down the line.

 
At 3:38 AM, December 16, 2006, Anonymous Julian said...

Yeah, it wouldn't suprise me at all either to see Balsillie come up again in future biddings for other teams. Obviously the Pens would be a great team to buy, but I don't think this will stop him.

 
At 2:24 PM, December 16, 2006, Blogger Desdemona said...

Canadian billionaire Jim Balsillie insisted Friday that his $175 million bid to buy the Penguins remains alive, despite a statement from team owner Mario Lemieux that the deal is off.

Link

??? I'm thoroughly confused.

 
At 4:44 PM, December 16, 2006, Anonymous Baroque said...

My guess (and it is only a guess) is that, by saying that, he is making clear that he is still willing to buy the Penguins for the price originally agreed upon...but with the same conditions originally agreed upon, as well. He still wants the team, but not with the last-minute addendum to the negotiations. He isn't pulling the offer off the table so much as objecting to the alterations in the offer imposed by the NHL.

 
At 12:36 PM, December 17, 2006, Anonymous Chris DeGroat @ The Checking Line said...

If this guy pulls his offer off the table, it's only because he wants to move the team.

 
At 11:45 PM, December 17, 2006, Blogger J. Michael Neal said...

If this guy pulls his offer off the table, it's only because he wants to move the team.

And your evidence for this is what, exactly? I'd be pretty likely to pull a bid if the people in charge insisted on a clause that they could take control of my purchase if they desired.

Maybe you are correct, but you have absolutely nothing to support that claim.

 

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