SBD/August 15, 2013/Franchises

Josh Harris, David Blitzer Buy Devils, Prudential Center From Vanderbeek For $320M

Vanderbeek's $80M from the sale will cover much of his personal investment
Devils Owner Jeff Vanderbeek today officially sold the team and Prudential Center to 76ers Owners Josh Harris and David Blitzer. 76ers CEO Scott O'Neil now will take on the additional role of CEO of the Devils and Prudential Center. Vanderbeek will remain with the team as a senior advisor to the new ownership group (Devils). In New Jersey, Tom Gulitti in a front-page piece cites a source as saying Harris' group will pay more than $320M for the team and arena. That is a "stunning price for a team that has been mired in debt." A source said that the "last remaining hurdle" in the Devils’ sale was cleared yesterday when the NHL BOG approved the ownership transfer. Gulitti reports Vanderbeek will "retain a small ownership stake." Devils President, CEO & GM Lou Lamoriello, who has been with the team since '87, is "expected to remain" in his role. The sale price will cover the approximately $200M in debt accumulated by the Devils and Devils Arena Entertainment, and "still leave Vanderbeek with a significant surplus." When Vanderbeek's efforts to "bring in new minority partners didn't pan out, the team’s growing debt forced him into selling a controlling stake." A group headed by Philadelphia attorney Andrew Barroway "came close to purchasing the Devils last month" after lending the franchise $30M to cover pension and escrow payments and getting approval from the league's BOG. But Barroway’s group "was unable to complete the sale with Vanderbeek" (Bergen RECORD, 8/15). In N.Y., Josh Kosman cites a source as saying that Vanderbeek "will collect roughly" $80M from the sale of the Devils, "covering much of his personal investment" (N.Y. POST, 8/15).

76ERS NOT LIKELY TO LEAVE PHILLY: The AP's Tom Canavan noted there has been a "little concern in Philadelphia that Harris might consider moving the 76ers from Philadelphia, which is the league's fourth largest market." But NBA Deputy Commissioner & COO Adam Silver "downplayed that suggestion." Silver in a statement said, "Josh Harris and his Sixers partners, like the NBA, love and are committed to Philadelphia" (AP, 8/14).
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