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Balsillie makes offer to buy Coyotes

Balsillie makes offer to buy Coyotes

BlackBerry boss Jim Balsillie is looking to buy the cash-strapped Phoenix Coyotes and move them to Ontario.
The co-CEO of BlackBerry maker Research In Motion said that his $212.5 million offer is conditional on the Coyotes relocating to Canada, where they existed as the Winnipeg Jets before moving to Phoenix for the 1996-97 season.
The team filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Tuesday. The filing included the proposed sale of the franchise to PSE Sports & Entertainment, LP, a Delaware limited partnership, which would move the franchise to southern Ontario.
"Extensive efforts have been undertaken to sell the team, or attract additional investors, who would keep the team in Glendale," Jerry Moyes, the Coyotes chief executive officer, said in a statement announcing the Chapter 11 filing. "Creating a process under the supervision of a judge assures that anyone wishing to purchase the team will have the opportunity to bid.
"Likewise, the City of Glendale, which has been very cooperative with efforts to keep the team in Glendale, will be able to provide potential buyers assurances of the city's willingness to offer incentives to keep the team as a tenant in the Jobing.com arena, the lease for which is subject to rejection in bankruptcy. The process assures that the identities of the new owner and the team's location will be known by June 30, 2009, thus enabling the NHL to include the team in its 2009-10 schedule."
Balsillie had made previous failed attempts to purchase the Nashville Predators and Pittsburgh Penguins with the hope of moving them to Hamilton, Ontario.
"The current team ownership asked that I table an offer to purchase the Coyotes and significant discussions resulted in an offer that is in the best interests of the franchise, the NHL, and the great hockey fans of Canada and Southern Ontario," Balsillie said in a statement.
"I am excited to move closer to bringing an NHL franchise to what I believe is one of the best unserved hockey markets in the world _ southern Ontario. A market with devoted hockey fans, a rich hockey history, a growing and diversified economy and a population of more than seven million people."
At the request of the Coyotes ownership, Balsillie said he has also agreed to provide $17 million in financing to allow the franchise to keep going in advance of the sale.
Balsillie's offer does not guarantee that the Coyotes will move.
"If others want to come in and there's an offer that is deemed better by the courts, then ultimately that would be a court decision," said Steve Roman, a spokesman for Moyes. "As I understand it, the hope and the plan is that all of this would be dealt with by June 30, 2009. You have a person who has a purchase agreement, but at the same time there could be other players who want to get involved."
In March, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman reiterated the financially struggling Coyotes won't be relocated.
"Our goal is to bring in new capital and make this franchise solvent," Bettman said on March 26 while attending a Coyotes home game. "That's our direction, and at this point moving the franchise elsewhere is not on the table."


Updated : 2021-05-06 11:58 GMT+08:00