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SPIRIT OF MANITOBA MAKES OFFER TO BUY JETS
Published June 12, 1995
A group of Winnipeg businessmen calling themselves Spirit of Manitoba Inc. made a formal offer to buy the Jets Friday. The offer reportedly "hinges" on a few points: The signature of the current owners, the approval of the NHL, about $20M more in private-sector contributions, and a Revenue Canada ruling that would make some contributions tax deductible. Jets Owner Barry Shenkarow is reportedly "disappointed the offer did not appear to correspond to the terms of negotiation agreed to earlier." Terms of the deal include the Spirit group paying Shenkarow and his partners more than $32M in cash and granting them another $22M in equity in the new ownership group. The current owners would receive two seats on a new 10-member board, and the board would decide whether Shenkarow "gets his wish to stay on as president." Spirit, formerly know as Manitoba Entertainment Complex, is led by Izzy Asper of CanWest Global Communications (CP/Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 6/10). In Winnipeg, Nick Martin reports the city will "refuse to pay" any further Jets' losses if Shenkarow turns down the latest offer. A "closed-door council session" has been called by Winnipeg Mayor Susan Thompson for today to hear from the Spirit group, Winnipeg Enterprises, the city's auditors and senior administrators (WINNIPEG FREE PRESS, 6/10). But Scott Taylor writes that the Spirit deal is "not an offer to purchase. It is only an option to purchase as long as certain criteria are met and that criteria is completely out of the hands of the vendor ... As it stands, this is a horrible deal for the seller" (WINNIPEG FREE PRESS, 6/11).