SBD/June 28, 2011/Franchises

Matthew Hulsizer Pulls Bid To Buy Coyotes; Two Potential Suitors Remain

Hulsizer reportedly still interested in buying another NHL franchise
Chicago businessman Matthew Hulsizer has “pulled his bid and no longer wants to buy” the Coyotes, according Mike Sunnucks of the PHOENIX BUSINESS JOURNAL. Sources late last week said that the City of Glendale was “talking to Hulsizer and two other potential owners: Chicago Bulls and White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf and another unnamed group.” Glendale approved a $197M bond and arena management deal last year “to help Hulsizer buy the team,” but that deal “never came to fruition because legal opposition to the bonds from the Goldwater Institute scared [away] bond investors.” There were “efforts from the Hulsizer group and others to reconstitute a Coyotes sale with options including lower bond amounts, but that effort could not move forward fast enough.” A source said that Hulsizer is “still interested in buying” another NHL franchise (BIZJOURNALS.com, 6/27). Glendale Mayor Elaine Scruggs said that Hulsizer “called council members early last week to emphasize his commitment and tell them he would abandon his deal if negotiations were opened to others.” A source said that Hulsizer “pulled out later in the week as the city invited other buyers to the negotiating table.” NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said Glendale will pursue another deal "with one or more other potential purchasers" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 6/28). Daly in an e-mail said, “We do not view this as a step backwards in the process. The situation has been moving in this direction for quite some time now” (AP, 6/27).

POTENTIAL SUITORS: ESPN.com’s Scott Burnside cited a source as saying that Hulsizer’s withdrawal “doesn't necessarily jeopardize the Coyotes' prospects and that there remains optimism a new owner will be in place by the end of August.” Still, multiple sources said that they “don't believe Reinsdorf will be interested in buying the team without significant givebacks from the City of Glendale” (ESPN.com, 6/27). A source said that if Reinsdorf is “back in the picture, it is unlikely he will be willing to put up any more of his own money than Hulsizer was” (GLOBE & MAIL, 6/28). The GLOBE & MAIL’s Brian Miller noted the NHL is “left with the prospect of operating the franchise and sharing its losses among the other owners for a lot longer than hockey’s brain trust had planned.” If they “hurry and call Jim Balsillie before RIM’s stock price falls any further, he may still be able to scrape up enough cash to buy the moribund team and move it to an actual hockey market” (GLOBESPORTS.com, 6/27).
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