SBD/24/Franchises

ALBERTA BANK STEPS IN TO TAKE CONTROL OF OILERS SALE

          The Alberta Treasury Branches (ATB) on Friday confirmed
     that it has "taken a direct role in the sale" of the NHL
     Oilers in an effort to "recoup some of the reported" $125M
     that it loaned Owner Peter Pocklington, according to Allan
     Maki of the Toronto GLOBE & MAIL.  ATB has activated the 20-
     day "warning clause" in its '95 location agreement between
     Pocklington, the city of Edmonton and the Northlands
     Coliseum, which means there are now 20 days for local buyers
     "to produce a serious offer;" if there is no local interest,
     outside offers "will be considered."  Maki wrote that with
     ATB's move, "it is believed" that potential buyers "will be
     willing to step forward and open their wallets."  Maki added
     that it "is also believed" that the most local serious
     group, including Bruce Saville, Cal Nichols, Rod Hodgson,
     and others, "has yet to raise the money it needs to meet"
     the US$70M purchase price (GLOBE & MAIL, 11/22).  ATB
     spokesperson Darlene Dickinson said that if a local offer is
     received in 20 days, "they would have an additional 40 days
     to finalize a deal." In addition, if an out-of-town offer is
     received, local buyers will have 30 days to match that offer
     or purchase the team for $70M (EDMONTON JOURNAL, 11/22).
          U.S. INTEREST: In Toronto, Al Strachan wrote that
     Rockets Owner Les Alexander is "still interested" in buying
     the team, however, after "being embarrassed" by Edmonton
     officials, Alexander's offer this time "may not be as
     magnanimous" (TORONTO SUN, 11/22).  Strachan added that
     there is "every indication" that Edmonton politicians "made
     a big mistake when they played hardball" with Alexander. 
     Strachan noted that the "word is" that the ATB plans to sell
     the team to "private enterprise" (TORONTO SUN, 11/23).

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