Sunday, June 08, 2008

Boots owes Anschutz money

When I'd linked to Boots Del Biaggio's bankruptcy documents late last week, I should have taken a closer look at the creditors section.

For one, it tells us that he owes American Express $85.

More importantly, there's a $7-million "business debt" from AEG, Anschutz Entertainment Group, the parent company that (a) owns the Los Angeles Kings and (b) had been the driving force financing Mr. Del Biaggio's pursuit of a team in Kansas City, where AEG has an empty building:

The AEG connection is puzzling given we'd heard they had cut ties with Boots and that the Nashville buy was not connected to a relocation to Missouri:
Del Biaggio, along with partner Warren Woo, owns almost 32 percent of the Predators, making him the second-largest investor in the franchise. When the club was for sale last summer, Del Biaggio severed his ties with AEG and joined a consortium of Nashville-area businessmen and bought the Predators.
The San Jose Mercury News, which has been following the saga with almost daily updates, broke down the list of Boots's creditors, saying of AEG: "It is unclear why Del Biaggio owes the company money."

The obvious question to ask is if one red cent of that $7-million was used in the purchase of the Predators. If so, it's an apparent case of the owner of one franchise buying into another in the hopes of relocating it to a building operated by the first franchise's ownership group.

And that's tricky business indeed.

Tom Benjamin called similar dealings with Boots, AEG and the Penguins "incestuous" in January, 2007, but his money quote with regards to Del Biaggio came a little later in the post.

"According to the Pittsburgh papers he has deep pockets, but I've got doubts."

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At 10:39 p.m., June 08, 2008, Anonymous olibou said...

Wow... It's probably unfounded, but this Montrealer just had a reminescence about Jeffrey Loria...

At 11:33 p.m., June 08, 2008, Blogger saskhab said...

So, the sale of the Preds was about $193m, and Boots was supposed to have a 27% share in the purchase. That's about $52.11m in a rough calculation. His top 20 creditors he owes over $56m.

If he owes AEG $7m, chances are it was for a loan to purchase the Predators. He doesn't have many other personal debts (relatively, I mean $4m is still a lot) aside from the Nashville purchase. And considering what we know about the clauses put in the purchase about the ability to buy out the other investors if certain revenue targets weren't met in 24 months... and who owns that building in KC, and what happened the previous year....

It's really just connecting the dots. The truth isn't far from the surface, I don't think.

At 11:56 p.m., June 08, 2008, Blogger mc79hockey said...

Don't forget that he owes money to Leipold as well. That's two NHL teams who were owned substantial sums by another team's owner.

I'd assume that the loan was related to the purchase of the Preds. Given that Bill Davidson is financing the Lightning purchase, I fully expect to soon see infomercials telling me how I too can own an NHL team for no money down and make huge profits flipping them.

Am I imagining things or did the Laurie's help finance the Blues sale as well?

At 12:00 a.m., June 09, 2008, Blogger mc79hockey said...

Ah, this is what I remembered.

Source is a blog but I recall reading it elsewhere too:

They received about $150 million from Checketts, and agreed to spend $60 million of that to pay off the arena bonds, another $50 million out of their own pocket to pay off outstanding team debt plus an additional $15 million to $25 million to cover this season's losses.

So he didn't finance it - it's just that the deal he cut netted him somewhere between $15MM and $25MM.

At 12:24 p.m., June 09, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I certainly don't understand all the ins and outs of all this but it sure sounds like a lot of underhanded activities going on. This can't be good for the league at all. And I would be very interested to understand how Bettman and company are involved in all this. Sounds very fishy to me.

At 1:41 p.m., June 09, 2008, Anonymous Jealous Broadcaster said...

Bettman is starting to remind me of Ted Saskin. Remember him?


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