SBD/20/Franchises

MORE KINGS SAGA: TRUSTEE WITHDRAWS OPPOSITION TO FINANCING

     R. Todd Neilson, a trustee controlling 28% of the L.A.
Kings, withdrew his request Monday for a "restraining order
against the proposed financing" from CO billionaire Philip
Anschutz and developer Edward Roski, according to Lisa Dillman in
today's L.A. TIMES.  Neislon's decision cleared the way for a
"desperately needed infusion" of $10.5M from the pair.  That
money, which is subject to NHL approval, comes in the form of a
Bank of America loan of $10M and an additional $500,000
investment from Anschutz and Rocki. Neilson did not withdraw a
suit that seeks to have last year's sale of the team "voided."
Dillman also notes an investment group headed by Hollywood Park
Vice Chair Harry Ornest submitted an offer Monday of $50M for
100% of the team and the Bank of America loan (L.A. TIMES, 6/20).
In the L.A. DAILY NEWS, Rick Sadowski reports that Anschutz and
Roski are now shareholders of less than 1% of the Kings, and that
they have the right to match any outside offer to purchase the
team.  Kings Co-Owner & Chair Joseph Cohen said the money will
help the team "get on" with next season and "scoffed" at the idea
the team would try to trade or sell Wayne Gretzky, who has one
year remaining on a three-year, $25.5M contract with millions in
deferred payments.  Cohen: "Wayne has said he wants to stay here
and I'm telling you right now that we want him to stay" (L.A.
DAILY NEWS, 6/20).  Also on Monday, the NHL responded to an ESPN
report stating that the Kings had borrowed money from the league.
An NHL spokesperson said that was an option available to any team
in the league.  The spokesman said they are, however, not paying
part of the team's payroll and are not shopping Wayne Gretzky to
other teams ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 6/19).
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