SBD/Issue 131/Franchises

Ice Edge Reportedly No Longer Front-Runner To Purchase Coyotes

Coyotes May Have To Relocate If
No Local Owner Lined Up By May

Ice Edge Holdings, which had "signed a letter of intent earlier this season to buy the Coyotes," is "no longer the front-runner to purchase the team," according to a source cited by Pierre LeBrun of ESPN.com. The source added that White Sox Chair Jerry Reinsdorf, who previously headed a group that bid for the team, is "back in the picture." LeBrun noted if there is "no local owner lined up by May, relocation could possibly enter the picture," though Glendale is "working hard right now to try to avoid that" (ESPN.com, 3/20). In Phoenix, Mike Sunnucks cited a source as saying that "getting a more favorable lease at Jobing.com Arena is key to financing" Ice Edge's purchase of the team. Changes to the lease "could include allowing the team to charge for parking, easing up on fees the team pays to the city and giving the team more latitude in game-day operations." Meanwhile, other sources said that Ice Edge is "running into some challenges in getting financing to buy the Coyotes." But the source said that though the process is "taking time," he is "optimistic a deal can still be done" (BIZJOURNALS.com, 3/20). In N.Y., Klein & Hackel noted the sale of the Coyotes has "encountered a hitch," as Ice Edge "has not closed the deal." But Ice Edge COO Daryl Jones Friday "denied there were problems with financing." Jones: "On the contrary, we have financing from world-class institutions." Jones said the "main sticking point" is the arena lease. Ice Edge "wants lower leasing fees from the city." Jones: "Our stance is we want an appropriate lease from Glendale. I'd like to say our chances of getting it done are fairly good, but we're not going to do a bad deal." Klein & Hackel noted if "no deal is reached by June, Ice Edge may drop out" (N.Y. TIMES, 3/21).

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