Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Bidding for Boots's share

Herb Fritch, a minority partner in the NHL team, plus two other sources told The Globe and Mail Tuesday the Predators ownership group headed by majority owner David Freeman has bid for Del Biaggio's 27-per-cent share of the team, which is under the control of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in San Francisco.
One source said the bid for the 27-per-cent stake is for $20-million. In Del Biaggio's bankruptcy filing, the share is said to be worth $23.5-million, and is his biggest single asset. Fritch declined to say how much the partners bid, but admitted it was at a discount to the stated value.
Twenty-seven per cent of the Predators is apparently not worth a heckuva lot these days. At that bargain-basement rate, the entire team would be worth only about $75-million — not the $176-million it was purchased from Craig Leipold for last year.

Ponying up another $20-million makes an awful lot of sense for the local ownership group here, given they'll "own 95.4 per cent of the team," an asset that has an actual worth potentially far higher than the cash they had to pay out.

Also apparently attempting to nab that 27-per-cent share is Jim Balsillie, who Stephen Brunt says may be the beneficiary of all the bad news down south this week. (Not that he's been immune.)

I haven't the foggiest how a bankruptcy court will attempt to sort this mess out, but one imagines that that laundry list of creditors would be after the greatest return for Del Biaggio's assets as possible. And to me that says that someone willing to pay well north of $20-million for a 27-per-cent share could just come away with that.

“I believe our group has to approve any sale of those shares, so we have some control over who gets them,” Fritch said, before adding he was not sure if that right would hold up in bankruptcy court.

“I don't care what the amount [of the bid] is, it's got to be approved by the powers that be,” he said. “I think the bankruptcy trustee has to take that into account.”
This may take a while.

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At 9:51 a.m., October 01, 2008, Blogger Pete said...

Can someone just sell to Basille already and get a team in Southern Ontario? Sorry, I am just getting tired of people trying to block someone with actual money trying to invest in this league.

At 10:42 a.m., October 01, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Keep the faith Southern Ontario, the bankrutcy courts will folllow the money trail. Let Jim B. buy as many teams as we wants for Canada. Plenty of creditors wanting their money down here in the States.

At 11:52 a.m., October 01, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't like to see any fan base lose a team (even a small fan base), but I wish the league would realize that they aren't going to discourage Balsillie from buying a team. The endless drama will continue until he gets what he wants.

Just let him buy a team - any team - and put it wherever he wants and end the drama. This whole story is tiresome.

At 12:04 p.m., October 01, 2008, Blogger FAUX RUMORS said...

1) If and when the team tanks and the remaining fans start to stay away the NHL will have its out to relocate the Preds. Maybe as soon as next season

At 12:10 p.m., October 01, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just don't know what to believe. Two of my favourite, and who I believe to be reliable, bloggers are writing two different truths.

On the 29th, the Forechecker wrote an article debunking this rumour which, apparantly was based on "maybes" and "might be" coming from TSN.

Balsillie Buying Predators Again?

What is the truth Mr. Mirtle?

At 12:56 p.m., October 01, 2008, Blogger Adam C said...

Now, I'm not a lawyer (ducks) ... But here we have Fritch apparently assuring us that the current owners apparently have the right to both bid on the 27%, and a veto on the acceptability of other bids. It may be true, but it's funny nevertheless.

Also amusing is following desdemona's link to Kukla's blog, where Freeman is quoted telling us that the team is "obviously not up for sale", when 'obviously' 27% of it is. And yes, I know what he meant (68% of the team is not for sale) but the way he put it makes me believe him less.

At 1:11 p.m., October 01, 2008, Blogger FAUX RUMORS said...

1) It will be interesting to see if the current collection of owners want to buy the minority share(27%) of Del Biaggio's stake in the team.
2) If it is such a good investment or IF they intend to sell the team soon, wouldn't having more of it be a good idea? Especially if you intend to sell/flip the team shortly anyway.

At 1:40 p.m., October 01, 2008, Blogger savardwalsh said...

Wouldn't it be best for Balsillie to let the group purchase Del Baggio's stake and then try and buy the whole 95.4% from them so he can relocate? What good is minority stake in a team he's openly trying to move?

At 2:00 p.m., October 01, 2008, Blogger James Mirtle said...


Balsillie is apparently pursuing the shares that are part of Del Biaggio's bankruptcy, but we don't know that for certain. We'll have to wait and see if he takes that approach because, at the moment, no one's confirmed or denied that.

I don't think Dirk or myself are qualified to speculate just yet when we don't have all the information. It would certainly make sense, in my eyes, that Balsillie pursues that share.

At 2:26 p.m., October 01, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If it helps you guys, technically the shares that the trustee would be selling would not be shares of the Predators.

They would be the shares of Forecheck Investments.

If memory serves, the shares of the Predators held by Forecheck are not transferable at all, except to the team itself.

At 9:45 p.m., October 01, 2008, Blogger Dirk Hoag said...

James & Desdamona: I do think the headlines are getting ahead of the news here. After all, if Balsillie wasn't interested in bidding on the Boots shares, that would be news!

Secondly, the main part of the hogwash from the original FAN590 report was that Bob McCown specifically implied that Balsillie was looking to buy out the majority ownership position, which is a whole 'nother kettle of fish, and that's what John Glennon debunked in the Tennessean.

Frankly I think an expansion team for Balsillie in southern Ontario would be probably the best single thing the NHL could do, business-wise. Of course, the Maple Leafs stand athwart any such plans, to the detriment of the NHL at large. Somehow you'd think they'd realize that the New York Yankees seem to get by OK even with the Mets in town...

At 8:02 a.m., October 02, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bob McCown specifically implied that Balsillie was looking to buy out the majority ownership position

Forechecker, he did more than imply it. He out and out said that WAS the case.

He was questioned about it the next day by some callers and by Steven Brunt, his co-host (and James' colleague at the Globe). He maintained that his "source" (and I personally believe that he does not even have one) was standing behind his "story".


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