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  • AFL PANTHERS' MERIS HOPES FOR A HOME RUN IN IPO TODAY

              The AFL Orlando Panthers will float an IPO today that
         "could more than triple" the value of the owners' interest
         in the team, according to Barry Flynn of the ORLANDO
         SENTINEL.  Through the IPO, underwritten by WI-based First
         Midwest Securities, the ownership group headed by AZ-based
         William Meris hopes to raise "as much as" $5.6M by selling
         40% of Predators Entertainment.  Meris' group purchased the
         team in February for $2.3M.  At the expected offering price
         of two shares of common stock and one warrant at $10, the
         60% retained by the ownership group after today's IPO would
         be worth $8.4M (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 12/11).
    
    

    Print | Tags: AFL, Franchises, Nashville Predators
  • FRANCHISE NOTES

              Former Browns WR Reggie Rucker, speaking to a Cleveland
         business group, on a new owner for the Browns: "We need an
         expansion team owned by [MBNA Corp. Chair] Al Lerner.  Al
         Lerner gives us the best chance to return to glory" (AKRON
         BEACON JOURNAL, 12/11)....Red Sox P Pedro Martinez said he
         has signed a contract for "around" $75M with the team, which
         makes him the "highest-paid player in baseball."  The Red
         Sox have not confirmed the deal (BOSTON GLOBE, 12/11).
    
    

    Print | Tags: Boston Red Sox, Cleveland Browns, Franchises, MBNA America Bank
  • GETTIN' A BUY WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM THEIR FRIENDS?

              With no local offers to purchase the NHL Oilers on the
         table, the Alberta Treasury Branches (ATB) plan to ask the
         NHL "to help it find an out-of-town buyer for the team,"
         according to Jac MacDonald of the EDMONTON JOURNAL.  The 20-
         day deadline the ATB gave local buyers to make an offer for
         the team expires tonight.  While one local group has held
         talks with NHL officials about the team, "so far it has not
         made a formal offer."  ATB spokesperson Darlene Dickinson
         said the bank needs a "firm, viable offer on the table"
         before it would consider extending today's deadline,
         otherwise, she said, "we will work with the [NHL] to find an
         outside buyer" (EDMONTON JOURNAL, 12/11).  In Edmonton,
         Bernard Pilon reports that one "rumored suitor" is Paul
         Allen, who is "mildly interested in acquiring" an NHL team
         for his Rose Garden arena (EDMONTON SUN, 12/11). 
    
    

    Print | Tags: Edmonton Oilers, Franchises, NHL
  • PUCKERING UP FOR THE TWINS, KIRBY SAYS HE WANTS IN

              Kirby Puckett says he is willing to invest $10M to
         become a part owner of the Twins "if, and only if, a deal
         can be worked to keep the team in Minnesota," according to
         Tom Powers of the ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS.  Puckett: "I'm not
         going to North Carolina.  If [Twins Owner] Carl [Pohlad]
         still owns the team, then I'm locked in.  I was planning to
         do something like this anyway.  This is something I want for
         myself.  Just a piece of it.  Maybe 10 percent."  Powers:
         "Any serious involvement by Puckett should force [MLB] to
         look long and hard before approving a sale and transfer of
         the club to North Carolina" (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 12/10).
              TWINS IN TRIAD: The Twins are scheduled to play a March
         31 exhibition game in Winston-Salem, NC, "conveniently" set
         "five weeks before the scheduled May 5 referendum to decide
         stadium funding for a ballpark in the Triad," according to
         Jay Weiner of the Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE.  In addition,
         prospective Twins buyer Don Beaver said that the final sale
         agreement with Carl Pohlad "is still being worked out, but
         there are no sticking points" (STAR TRIBUNE, 12/11).
    
    

    Print | Tags: Franchises, Minnesota Twins, MLB, R J Reynolds
  • VIKINGS STILL ON THE BLOCK: SALE COMMITTEE KEEPING BUSY

              The Vikings' three-member sale committee "has met with
         several groups interested in purchasing the team, including
         some local ownership candidates," according to Don Banks of
         the Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE.  Vikings Board Member Wheelock
         Whitney: "We've gotten a number of inquiries, particularly
         since news of the sale became public."  Banks adds that
         groups from Birmingham, AL, L.A. and Toronto have met with
         the committee.  A Birmingham group, headed by Dr. Larry
         Lemak, "is believed to be close to submitting a bid in the
         $200 million range" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 12/11).
              WHO'S IN, WHO'S OUT? In St. Paul, Charley Walters
         writes that "the word is half of the Vikings' 10 owners will
         attempt to remain as passive investors if the team is sold,"
         while the other five "are expected to cash out."  An
         "informed" source said that T'Wolves Owner Glen Taylor
         "might be interested in joining the new Vikings group as an
         active partner," and that Taylor "would want management
         input but not as the principal owner" (PIONEER PRESS,12/11).
    
    

    Print | Tags: Franchises, Minnesota Timberwolves, Minnesota Vikings
  • WILSON TO STRAIGHTEN OUT THE ILLS THAT PLAGUE THE BILLS

              Bills Owner Ralph Wilson "promised" to make "aggressive
         changes this offseason," according to Leo Roth of the
         Rochester DEMOCRAT & CHRONICLE.  With the future of the
         Bills in Western N.Y. "tied to a new lease that's contingent
         on the sale of luxury seating, a winning product is now more
         critical than ever."  The Bills have had just four sellouts
         this season, and 35,000 tickets remain for this Sunday's
         game against the Jaguars.  Wilson: "People shouldn't lose
         faith or look upon the team negatively.  Fans are down,
         sure.  So am I" (Rochester DEMOCRAT & CHRONICLE, 12/10).
    
    

    Print | Tags: Buffalo Bills, Franchises, Jacksonville Jaguars, Wilson Sporting Goods
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