SBD/January 20, 2012/Franchises

Tom Stillman Reportedly Signs Purchase Agreement To Buy Blues

A group led by Blues minority owner Tom Stillman “has signed a purchase agreement to buy the club,” according to a source cited by Jeremy Rutherford of the ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH. The Blues and Stillman “must now complete the sale and have it approved by the NHL, a process that could take several weeks.” The league's BOG will meet Jan. 28 in Ottawa during All-Star Weekend, but “it's expected that only an update on the Blues' situation would be discussed, not a vote.” Stillman's group “signing a purchase agreement comes 2 1/2 weeks after the NHL terminated a purchase agreement between the Blues and Chicago businessman Matthew Hulsizer.” The purchase agreement between Stillman and the Blues “is an adaptation of the Hulsizer deal.” The price of the package, which “includes the Blues, the team's top minor-league affiliate in Peoria, Ill., the Scottrade Center lease and significant interest in the Peabody Opera House, is expected to be approximately $130-135 million.” While Blues Chair Dave Checketts and TowerBrook Capital Partners “are listed as the sellers in the process, the league is guiding the transaction.” Sources have indicated that if the club “went much longer without the completion of a sale, bankruptcy was a strong possibility for the franchise” (, 1/20).

HOLDING PATTERN WITH COYOTES: The GLOBE & MAIL's Eric Duhatschek reported NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman attended Wednesday's Coyotes-Ducks game and "spent part of the day briefing" Coyotes GM Don Maloney on the "sale/no sale of the franchise, which continues to operate under NHL control." Bettman indicated "nothing is imminent" regarding a sale. He said, “At some point, if we can’t get it resolved for next season, we’ll have to consider our alternatives - but that’s not new news” (GLOBE & MAIL, 1/19). Bettman Thursday said on his weekly Sirius XM radio show said, “Nothing new to report. It remains a work in progress. I know people would be anxious to have me say, ‘This is the timetable. We’re done.’ We still have time. We’re still working on it and we still remain optimistic.” Bettman added that in the “absence of a purchaser, I don’t think the city is prepared to continue what it’s doing.” He said, “From our standpoint, despite all of our best efforts, if we can’t get it done … we may need to consider alternatives” (“The NHL Hour with Commissioner Gary Bettman,” NHL Radio, 1/19).
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