Boston-based Bain Capital has offered to buy the moribund National Hockey League for as much as $3.5 billion, according to a report in the Toronto Star.
The bid is in conjunction with sports investment bank Game Plan International.
Bain Capital partner Steven Pagliuca is personally a co-owner of the Boston Celtics basketball team.
The current NHL season has been cancelled following a labour dispute between players and team owners. Among NHL team owners are Thomas Hicks, the former chairman of Dallas buyout firm Hicks, Muse, Tate & Furst; and Teachers' Private Capital, the private equity investment arm of the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan. Hicks owns the Dallas Stars, while Teachers’ owns the Toronto Leafs.
The professional hockey franchises are reported to have lost an aggregate of roughly $500 million thanks to the canceled season.
The offer came at an NHL board meeting in New York yesterday. The proposed sale would transfer ownership of all 30 teams to Bain and Game Plan. According to the report, the bidders used a PowerPoint presentation to show how a single ownership structure would benefit the league. Among the benefits would be all the separate teams “working together to generate more local television, sponsorship and revenue instead of competing against one another”, the report stated.
A large Canada-based “financier” has been arranged for the deal, the bidders reportedly said.
Bain and Teachers’ Private Capital invested together in the 1999 buyout of Canada’s Shoppers Drug Mart.