SBD/July 21, 2014/Franchises

Bills Reportedly Could Sell For More Than $1.1B; Bon Jovi Formally Expresses Interest

Bon Jovi reportedly does not want to move the Bills from Buffalo
Bills officials expect the sale of the team "to reach more than" $1.1B, meaning the groups looking at purchasing the team "can expect to pay 20% more" than Forbes' $870M estimated franchise value, according to sources cited by ESPN's Sal Paolantonio. Some interested ownership groups reportedly have talked about relocating the team, but it is "pretty clear that it's very difficult to get out of the lease at Ralph Wilson Stadium." Paolantonio, who was reporting live from Bills training camp said, "You've got to keep the team here in Buffalo." Potential bidders for the team include Sabres Owner Terry Pegula, former Sabres Owner Tom Golisano, Donald Trump and a group fronted by Jon Bon Jovi. ESPN's Ron Jaworski formerly partnered with Bon Jovi on the AFL Philadelphia Soul and noted the singer "never said he would move the Buffalo Bills out of western New York." Jaworksi: "There's been a lot of speculation to that. I know Jon Bon Jovi very well … (and he) always does the right thing. The right thing is to keep the Buffalo Bills in Western New York" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 7/21). The AP's John Wawrow reported Bon Jovi is "part of a Toronto group" that includes Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment Chair Larry Tanenbaum and the Rogers family. The group has "retained a banking firm and submitted paperwork expressing" a formal interest in buying the team (AP, 7/18). QMI AGENCY's John Kryk cited sources as saying that the Toronto group "is committed to keeping the NFL franchise in Western New York" (QMI AGENCY, 7/19).

EYEING A DECISION BY OCTOBER: Kryk cited a source as saying that prospective bidders not only have until 5:00pm on July 29 to inform Morgan Stanley "of their intention to bid, they must submit an indicative bid by then." After that date, the trust "will quickly select finalists." Presumably "by the end of that week." The source said that the "intention of the trust indeed is to choose a buyer in time for ratification by NFL owners at their next scheduled meeting, Oct. 6-8 in Detroit" (QMI AGENCY, 7/19).
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