SBD/26/Franchises

ICE, ICE, MAYBE? STEINBRENNER INQUIRES ABOUT ISLANDERS

          Yankees Owner George Steinbrenner has made "preliminary
     inquiries, through an intermediary," about purchasing the
     Islanders, "several" sources close to the NHL and MLB tell
     Dan Wasserman of the Newark STAR-LEDGER.  While Steinbrenner
     initiated contact with the Islanders more than two weeks
     ago, his reps "have not followed up over the last 10 days,"
     according to one person familiar with the discussions. 
     Brett Pickett, son of Islanders Owner John Pickett, whose
     law firm is representing his father in sale negotiations,
     said, "We've had interest expressed by close to 18 investor
     groups.  We're engaged in due diligence with about 10 of
     those groups, and about four are close to talking numbers." 
     Wasserman writes that it "appears" the expected $200M+ price
     tag for the Islanders, plus rights to their long-term cable
     TV deal, "may be too steep for Steinbrenner, who would seek
     the support of his Yankees limited partners to finance the
     deal."  But Steinbrenner "hasn't ruled out an Islanders
     offer," since one attraction would be the ability "to
     promote the Yankees on a year-round basis."  Steinbrenner
     was unavailable for comment (STAR-LEDGER, 8/26).

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