SBD/Issue 241/Franchises

Lightning's Koules Nears Completion Of Plan To Buy Out Barrie

Koules Close To Buying
Out Barrie's 35% Share
Lightning co-Owner Oren Koules is "putting the finishing touches on a plan to buy out" co-Owner Len Barrie, and Koules "hopes to present it to NHL commissioner Gary Bettman in less than a week," according to a league source cited by David Shoalts of the GLOBE & MAIL. Koules is "close to making a deal" with former Lightning Owner Palace Sports & Entertainment (PSE) to "increase his financing in order to buy out Barrie's 35[%] share of the franchise." When Koules, Barrie and "several smaller partners bought the Lightning" in June '08, PSE "essentially took back a mortgage that covered about half of the $206[M] purchase price." Shoalts notes Barrie was "given the first opportunity to put together a buyout, but his serious financial troubles with his Bear Mountain real estate development in Victoria hampered his efforts." An NHL source said that Barrie told Bettman that he "could not manage a buyout and would have to withdraw." Barrie "denied this," claiming that he is still talking to Sansone Group Principal Tony Sansone Jr. "about joining him in the buyout." But NHL sources said that there is "no sign of a deal" (GLOBE & MAIL, 9/2).

BEAR ESSENTIALS: Barrie serves as Bear Mountain Resort President & CEO, and Scott Bye, a financial adviser to a group of NHL players who was appointed to the Bear Mountain Resort Exec Committee "after the players became concerned about its finances," yesterday said Barrie owes Bear Mountain between C$16-20M. Barrie on Monday said that "all of the money in question was either paid back or accounted for, following a damning report by the company's auditor," but Bye said that "this was not true." Barrie "insisted again yesterday that he did nothing improper," saying that his debt to Bear Mountain is C$5M, not as much as C$20M. Barrie: "The number was five and it's been paid back" (GLOBE & MAIL, 9/2). Barrie said the charges he misappropriated funds at the resort are "B.S." Barrie: "It's real funny when you're close to almost getting a deal done, and something like this comes out." Barrie on the Bear Mountain Web site wrote, "The report being referenced ... is consequently nine months old, and the issues and concerns raised in the report have all been reviewed and addressed with Bear Mountain Resort's executive committee and investors" (ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 9/2).

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