SBD/Issue 211/Franchises

NHL Source Denies Gallacher Has Reached Deal To Buy The Stars

While Gallacher Has Not Yet Reached A
Deal For Stars, It Might Be Coming Soon

An NHL source has refuted a report that WHL Portland Winter Hawks Owner Bill Gallacher has "agreed in principle to buy the Stars" for $225M, according to Mike Heika of the DALLAS MORNING NEWS. The source said there is "no truth" to The Hockey News report and the sale price listed in the story is "far too low." Heika noted while the report might "not be accurate today, it could be in the future." Gallacher, who founded Athabasca Oil Sands Corp., has been "confirmed as one of two Canadians interested in buying the team, with Vancouver businessman Tom Gaglardi the other," and "many are predicting" that Gallacher will indeed buy the Stars. Current Stars Owner Tom Hicks said, "We are working closely with the NHL to conclude a process on a timely basis" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 7/17). In the original report, THE HOCKEY NEWS' Ken Campbell reported Gallacher "heads up a group of investors that has reached an agreement in principle to buy" the Stars. The deal has "yet to be signed and either side could back out of it, but it appears the deal will get done soon." Campbell reported "one possible scenario has Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban jumping back into the fray." Cuban reportedly was "turned off" by Hicks' $350M asking price, but "might be enticed by a much lower price." There is "no chance Gallacher, if he finalizes his purchase, will move the Stars to Portland, where he owns his junior team, or to a Canadian city" (, 7/16).

WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD? The MORNING NEWS' Heika cited sources as saying that the deal between Gallacher and Hicks Sports Group is "not close to getting done." While some claim that the $225M price is too low, Heika wrote, "I'm still struggling to get my head around that one. Tampa Bay just sold for a reported price of $110 million in March. ... In Phoenix, I'm not sure they will even get $100 million for the Coyotes. So what makes the Stars somehow worth tons more?" The Stars are "expected to keep ticket prices low in an attempt to fill the building next season, and that will only mean that creating revenue will be tougher." Some sources believe that a "new television contract will be a boon, despite low ratings, because sports stations need the programming, so maybe that's a reason for the optimism in the price." HSG and the NHL "have learned a lot" from the holding group's ongoing sale of the MLB Rangers, which is "one reason they're trying to do this so quietly" (, 7/17).

TENNESSEE WALTZ: The GLOBE & MAIL's David Shoalts reported the Predators owners are "putting what they hope are the finishing touches on a move to buy" the 27% of the team formerly owned by William "Boots" Del Biaggio III that now is controlled by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court. The two "major concerns are that Del Biaggio guaranteed $40-million of a loan believed to be about $75-million from the merchant bank CIT Group and a buyout provision Del Biaggio received when he bought" the 27% share of the Predators. That provision "allows the holder of the shares to ask the other owners to buy him out" for $25M in Oct. '11, but if they "refuse, the owner of the shares can buy out the other owners for sole control of the team." The CIT Group loan is "up for renewal in early December, which could create problems for the Predators" (GLOBE & MAIL, 7/17).

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