SBD/27/Franchises

TIMBERWOLVES DEAL IN TROUBLE AGAIN? MORE FINANCING PROBLEMS

     "The on-again-off-again Timberwolves/Target Center deal is
threatened anew," according to this morning's ST. PAUL PIONEER
PRESS, which reports that potential Wolves owner Glen Taylor has
lost "major sources of money for the deal."  First Bank System
had planned to invest $9M in the Wolves, but ran into questions
from bank regulators and withdrew, according to sources familiar
with the deal.  Bank companies are not supposed to own more than
5% of voting stock in nonbanking businesses, "and federal
regulators balked at First Bank's plan to own" about 10% of the
Wolves.  Taylor: "It's a new glitch, and I would have preferred
it not come up."  When asked if this would undo the deal: "I hope
not."  The deal is not supposed to be closed until December when
Taylor is to have his financing lined up and public agencies are
to have sold $54M in bonds for a Target Center buyout.  Taylor
feels "pretty comfortable" that he can find investors willing to
put in a minimum of $1M each by then.  Taylor and Twins owner
Carl Pohlad have talked in the past about the "long-term
possibility of combining the basketball and baseball teams in one
company, with the possibility of selling shares to the public in
several years."  Taylor declined to say if Pohlad would "pinch
hit for First Bank" (Gail Marks Jarvis, ST. PAUL PIONEER-PRESS,
10/27).
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