SBD/January 5, 2011/Franchises

Preds Owners Refinance Team Debt, Begin Search For Investors

The Predators took a "critical step toward long-term financial stability last week when the hockey franchise's local ownership group completed the refinancing of a 3-year-old $75 million loan," according to Nate Rau of the Nashville TENNESSEAN. Predators Chair Tom Cigarran yesterday said that refinancing the debt "allows the team to recruit additional local investors and begin negotiations with Mayor Karl Dean about extending the Bridgestone Arena lease agreement that expires in 2012." The refinancing transaction was "led by Regions Bank but included investments from five other financial firms." Cigarran said that the $75M loan "equates to about half the team's net worth." The team "wasn't able to aggressively pursue refinancing the loan until the ownership group bought shares owned by former partner William 'Boots' Del Biaggio" in September. Metro Sports Authority Chair J.D. Elliott said that he "couldn't think of any lingering contractual issues between the Predators and the board, which serves as the landlord at the arena." Cigarran noted that with the refinancing out of the way, he "would like to begin searching for new investors in the coming weeks." The "hope is to find local investors," but Cigarran said that the ownership group "would look outside of the Nashville area, as well" (Nashville TENNESSEAN, 1/5).
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