SBD/June 18, 2012/Franchises

Sources: Bettman May Take Control Of Devils If Vanderbeek Fails To Refinance Team Debt

Bettman (r) is expected to give the Devils a few more weeks to restructure debt
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman is "preparing to take control of the money-losing" Devils in the event that Owner Jeff Vanderbeek "fails to refinance the Devils’ debt before a looming Aug. 14 deadline," according to Josh Kosman of the N.Y. POST. A source said that the commissioner’s office in recent days has "told potential suitors to be ready in case he moves on the team and pushes Vanderbeek aside." One source said that Vanderbeek is "near a deal to sell a majority stake to a mystery investor, which would allow him to keep control of the Eastern Conference champions." The proceeds from a sale "would be used to repay lenders much of the $77 million in past due debt." While Bettman has said publicly that he "expects the Devils’ financial situation to be resolved soon, his behind-the-scenes moves suggest he’s far from confident that a deal will get done." Sources said that Bettman is "expected to give Vanderbeek a few more weeks to complete a financial restructuring but will not wait until the Aug. 14 deadline passes." Sources added that the NHL would "likely force him out sooner to give suitors enough time to study the team’s financials and make an offer to lenders before the bankruptcy deadline" (N.Y. POST, 6/18).
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