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Samueli To Purchase Mighty Ducks From Disney For $75M
Published February 28, 2005
Samueli Acquires Ducks
From Disney For $75M
Broadcom Chair Henry Samueli and his wife, Susan, have reached a $75M agreement to purchase the Mighty Ducks from the Walt Disney Co., “seemingly assuring that the NHL franchise would remain in Anaheim,” according to Foster & Shaikin of the L.A. TIMES. A source said that the price for the team was $60M, with another $15M going to purchase the team’s training facility, Disney Ice, and to “secure merchandising rights to the Mighty Duck name.” The Samuelis said that the NHL’s current labor situation “had no effect on their decision to buy the team,” and added that the deal “was attractive” because they already control Arrowhead Pond through the Anaheim Arena Management subsidiary of their H&S Ventures. Henry Samueli: “Since we manage the Pond ... it seemed natural to purchase the team.” Foster & Shaikin noted the team’s lease with Arrowhead Pond “allowed Disney to share in, and in some cases monopolize, revenue streams from non-hockey events. By owning the Ducks, Samueli will now be able to pocket all profits.” Anaheim City Manager Dave Morgan said that he believes the sale to local ownership “will boost efforts to attract an NBA team” to the city. Samueli said landing an NBA team is “one of the secondary motives [for buying the Ducks]. Having control over the main tenants at the Pond gives us leverage to lure an NBA franchise” (L.A. TIMES, 2/26).
OH, HENRY: Forbes last year valued the Mighty Ducks at $108M. Samueli: “We did a lot of consultation with experts and they all say it can be both a winning team and a profitable business.” Houlihan Lokey Howard & Zukin sports adviser Jeff Phillips: “The wild card here is what the lockout will do to fan interest. Will the fans come back, and how long will it take to recover? Those are questions you can’t answer, and that made it difficult for a prospective buyer to come in and take a risk” (ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 2/26). Samueli: “I’m going to be a very passive owner. I’m going to put in place a very top-notch, A-plus management team, including initially all the existing people that are there” (Riverside PRESS-ENTERPRISE, 2/26). In California, Dan Wood wrote while Samueli “has yet to determine a specific management structure for the Ducks, he said it would be separate from H&S Ventures, and it would include” a president and GM (ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 2/26). Nicolas Alexopoulos, a longtime friend of Samueli and Dean of the Henry Samueli School of Engineering at the Univ. of California-Irvine, does not expect the Ducks to take Samueli away from his Broadcom duties, saying, “Broadcom is his baby. His intellectual involvement is the high-tech world, and I don’t see that changing” (O.C. REGISTER, 2/26).
Leclerc Happy To Be Playing
For An Individual Owner
MIGHTY MOUSE: In California, Mark Whicker wrote under the header “Disney, sports proves to be bad marriage.” Disney, after acquiring the Mighty Ducks and the Angels, “soon realized that reality was too expensive. It also couldn’t read a sports calendar. Instead of appointing CEOs for each sport, it used Tony Tavares for both. It also tried to use the same sales staffs for both franchises, not realizing (or caring) that the seasons overlapped and, thus, never ended. Almost 60[%] of those staffers left, citing overwork” (ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 2/26). Tradition Asiel Securities media analyst Paul Kim: “All these entertainment companies wanted to expand beyond core areas for synergy and growth and have tried different things. But as the industry has evolved over the last 10 to 20 years, it’s clear that maybe a licensing strategy works but operating physical assets probably doesn’t” (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 2/26). Mighty Ducks LW Mike Leclerc: “It’s been tough over the years, playing for a big corporation like Disney, where you’re just a small piece of their pie, something they don’t put their heart and soul into. Sometimes we’ve felt like they don’t really care too much whether the team wins or loses. ... When you have an actual person who owns the team, it seems like they care a little more” (O.C. REGISTER, 2/26).
ALL EARS? In L.A., Helene Elliott reported former NHL Kings Owner Bruce McNall, who received $25M of Disney’s $50M expansion payment in ‘93 because of the Ducks’ territorial infringement on the Kings, “believes the NHL drove [Disney CEO Michael Eisner] away.” McNall: “People didn’t pay attention to him. He had concepts he wanted to talk about and the old traditionalists said, ‘No, no.’ ... I think he got frustrated by the fact he’d go to (NHL) meetings and discuss things and ... somebody would say to him, ‘You’re a newcomer. Why should we listen to you?’” (L.A. TIMES, 2/26).