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QUEBEC CITY: CANADA'S NEXT SMALL-MARKET CRISIS?

     The Quebec provincial government said it will "bail out the
financially strapped" Nordiques and build a new arena, "but only
if it becomes a shareholder and the club agrees to a cap on
spending," according to Rheal Seguin in today's Toronto GLOBE &
MAIL.  Quebec Premier Jacques Parizeau said the province would
not "inject funds" into any team without having some control over
how those funds are used.  As a partial owner, the government
would get its money back if the team is sold.  Parizeau noted
this is the government's second offer to buy an interest in the
team.  The first offer was turned down by Nordiques President
Marcel Aubut.  Parizeau gave no indication of what percentage the
Province seeks or how much money was offered.  Aubut has
"demanded" that the Province build a new arena that the team
could use rent-free.  Aubut also wants the government to assume
the club's operating debt for whatever time it takes to build the
new arena.  If those conditions are not met by May 15, Aubut will
sell the team.  He reportedly has a $75M offer from Comsat in
Denver (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 5/4).
     STRATEGY?  Key to Aubut's strategy, according to Seguin, is
his belief that the Parti Quebecois government will not
"jeopardize its referendum chances by allowing the Nordiques to
leave Quebec."  And although Aubut has talked about selling the
team, "many believe" that he is not willing to give up control
(Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 5/4).
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