Tuesday, January 29, 2008

More Balsillie-ness

The small group of non-Katz members within the Edmonton Investors Group have notified the 34 EIG members that there is no counter bid that can match or exceed the local billionaire's offer.

This news comes on the heels of Sun Media learning that members of the EIG board — clearly non-Katz members — made an attempt to contact Jim Balsillie, the Ontario billionaire with a checkered NHL past when it comes to purchasing a team.
Interesting stuff (and The Battle of Alberta has more).

It makes me wonder if every troubled ownership group from now on will turn to Balsillie — and just how that might play out if they're really committed to that sale.

We've already seen Craig Leipold accept a smaller offer for the Predators in order to keep Mr. BlackBerry out, but I can't see that scenario unfold the same way in a situation where Gary Bettman might have far less influence.

In Edmonton, Daryl Katz has boosted his offer to $200-million, and with Bettman on side, it seems only a matter of time before he takes over the Oilers.
"It looks like it's a done deal. The shareholders I've had communication with have said they've got to go ahead and sell," said a source familiar with the negotiations. "Nobody wants to be a minority investor. They're all going to take their money and run."
Which seems to be the theme of these sales lately, no?

UPDATE Balsillie also had approached the Thrashers' troubled ownership group in November, according to a story last week in La Presse [here's a rough English translation].

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