SBD/March 17, 2011/Franchises

Dave Checketts Puts Blues, Scottrade Center Lease Up For Sale

Checketts says he hopes to find buyer that will keep Blues in St. Louis
Blues Chair Dave Checketts yesterday revealed that he "has decided to put the team and Scottrade Center lease up for sale," and "all 100 percent of the team/lease is available," according to Bernie Miklasz of the ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH. Since last May, Checketts has "sought investors to replace the roughly 70 percent of the franchise owned by TowerBrook Capital Partners." Checketts said that he had "lined up financing to take over TowerBrook's shares but negotiations reached an impasse," as the parties were unable to agree on the "value of the shares held by TowerBrook." He said, "The bottom line is I've been unable to make a deal with them. As a result, I've got to turn from being a buyer to a seller." Checketts and his investment firm, SCP Worldwide, own approximately 20% of the Blues; local investor Tom Stillman and other partners own the remaining 10%. Checketts, who noted he will remain in charge of the team until a new owner is found, has retained Florida-based Game Plan LLC to "help him find a buyer." He said that "every effort will be made to sell the Blues to buyers with local roots that will ensure the team's future in St. Louis." A source indicated that TowerBrook attempted to sell its 70% stake "independent of Checketts, but received little interest." The source added that TowerBrook "believed the Blues were worth more on the open market if all shares were made available. Including Checketts' piece." Miklasz noted Checketts, who took control of the Blues prior to the '06-07 season, "had hoped to remain in charge and run the franchise after securing investors to buy out TowerBrook," but that "proved to be unrealistic" (STLTODAY.com, 3/16).

THE TIME HAS COME: Checketts yesterday said, "Where I've been for the last couple months is trying to make a deal with TowerBrook. It couldn't happen. ... We weren't able to make a deal. I don't want to get any more specific than that." Checketts claimed to "have lost money in the first three years he controlled the team," but said yesterday that the Blues are "no longer losing money, and that the city is a viable market." There is "no timetable for a sale," which also includes the AHL Peoria Rivermen (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 3/17).
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