Report: Leipold won't sell to Balsillie
6/28/2007 9:02:06 AM
Jim Balsillie's bid to purchase the Nashville Predators and relocate them to Southern Ontario appears unlikely now that current Predators owner Craig Leipold has found a new buyer.
According to the National Post, Leipold informed Balsillie earlier this week that he would not accept his $238-million US offer for the NHL club. Instead, Leipold is preparing to sell the franchise to California businessman William DelBiaggio, who is expected to move the team to Kansas City instead.
DelBiaggio's bid is reportedly $50-million US less than what Balsillie was offering for the club.
Balsillie's deal to purchase the Predators was set to close on June 30.
"We are currently free to explore any and all options regarding the sale of the Nashville Predators," Gerry Helper, Nashville's senior vice-president of communications and development, said in a statement. "However, until and unless there is a binding agreement in place, we do not plan to comment on the status of Predators ownership.
"We will not comment on rumours and speculation."
The NHL, which called Balsillie's plans to relocate the team to Southern Ontario "premature", also declined to comment.
Despite the fact he doesn't yet own the team, Balsillie recently signed an option for a 20-year lease on Copps Coliseum in Hamilton and began accepting desposits for season tickets and suites.
Kansas City, which recently built a brand new downtown arena, has been searching for a permanent tenant and recently made a pitch to try and lure the Pittsburgh Penguins to Missouri. The arena is managed by Anschutz Entertainment Group, which is owned by L.A. Kings owner Philip Anschutz.
DelBiaggio has an agreement with the Anschutz Group to own and operate an NHL franchise in the new arena.