SBD/December 28, 2012/Franchises

Greg Jamison Unsuccessful In Securing Coyotes Investors Through Green Card Program

Jamison reportedly tried to court investors from the Middle East specifically
Prospective Coyotes Owner Greg Jamison recently made a "novel but failed attempt to find investors through the Immigrant Investor Program of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services," according to David Shoalts of the GLOBE & MAIL. Sources said that Jamison "tried to raise at least some of the $170-million (all currency U.S.) purchase price by using what is also known as the EB-5 program." EB-5 is the "official name of the visa, a conditional green card, granted by the U.S. government to wealthy immigrants in exchange for an investment of at least $1-million in an American business." Jamison on Thursday said that he "took a look at the program, which essentially trades green cards for cash, but said it will not be part of his financing package in the purchase of the team from the NHL." Jamison: "I’ve been at this 18 months, I’ve looked at everything. I’m aware of the (EB-5) program and what it can do. We did discuss it, but we’re not using it as part of our program, no." One source said that Jamison spent "a lot of time and travel trying to attract foreign investors through the program, particularly in the Middle East." Another source said that Jamison is "not using the program because he failed to find any takers for the same reason he is having trouble getting conventional investors -- the Coyotes are a poor investment." A third source said that while Jamison "never discussed using the program with his only known investors, the Ice Edge group of Canadian and U.S. businessmen, at least one member of the group checked out the EB-5 program on his own to see if it would help land a green card." Shoalts writes Jamison's usual doubters are "giving him full marks for creativity in his hunt for investors" (GLOBE & MAIL, 12/28).

GETTING CLOSER: In Phoenix, Mike Sunnucks noted the sale of the Coyotes "took another step forward this week as the city of Glendale has signed its arena management deal and lease" with Jamison. The city’s move "represents progress towards keeping the Coyotes in Glendale." The city approved a previous deal in June but "decided against signing it," instead opting to "forge a new arena pact with Jamison last month." The new deal totals more than $300M over 20 years and "pays Jamison to run the city-owned Jobing.com Arena." Jamison has until the "end of next month to buy the Coyotes and ink his signature line of the arena deal" (BIZJOURNALS.com, 12/27). Sunnucks in a separate piece wrote the Coyotes could have their "best financial season ever -- by not playing a single game because of the NHL lockout." The team could "turn a profit this season -- or at least break even -- thanks to first-year money" from the arena deal, "as well as the lockout." The Coyotes "won’t have to pay out an estimated $49 million in player salaries." Financial estimates show that the Coyotes lost $20-25M "in recent seasons" (BIZJOURNALS.com, 12/26).
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