Jim Balsillie has put in an offer on the Phoenix Coyotes.
According to a media release, the Blackberry billionaire’s offer of $212.5 million (US) for the team is conditional on the franchise relocating to Southern 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 the release.
“I am excited to move closer to bringing an NHL franchise to what I believe is one of the best un-served 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 7 million people,” he said.
The release also says, Balsillie agreed to post debtor-in-possession financing of $17 million (US) at the request of the Coyotes franchise. The money will keep the franchise going before the sale is completed.
Instant and immediate analysis: Well this move can hardly be considered a surprise, given Balsillie’s well documented want of an NHL team in Southern Ontario. However, what has changed now is that Gary Bettman will be hard pressed not to permit Balsillie’s dream to come true. He is over-paying for a franchise that is practically worthless at the moment, and depending on who you believe, either being run by the NHL, or being run by the city of Glendale, Arizona. For a potential deep pocketed owner to come by, and offer to purchase the team, and for Bettman to ignore that offer for some personal animous between him and that potential owner, may very well be the death kneel that results in Bettman losing control of the NHL. What will happen? Only time will tell, but it appears as though it will be a newsworthy world in the land of the Phoenix Coyotes, and NHL head offices in Toronto and New York.
Instant update: Loyal IC reader Bob Roberts is reporting that the league has no comment about these latest developments. Looks like Balsillie may have pulled a(nother) fast one over ol reliably incompetent Bettman.