SBD/August 6, 2014/Franchises

Bon Jovi-Led Group Allowed To Readjust, Resubmit Initial Bid On Bills

Bon Jovi's group had initially bid $900M for the Bills, but seek to go higher
The Toronto-based group seeking to buy the Bills, led by Jon Bon Jovi, will be allowed to "resubmit a higher, non-binding initial bid for the Bills -- probably between" $1-1.1B, according to sources cited by John Kryk of QMI AGENCY. The group also has been asked to "submit greater assurances it plans to keep the Bills long-term in the Buffalo area." Sources said that the group's "first bid actually was rejected last week by Morgan Stanley." Sources added that the initial bid was "uncompetitively low and, perhaps as damningly, too much doubt existed within the trust, Morgan Stanley and that duo's law firm regarding the group's newly adopted intention to keep the NFL team in Western New York." Kryk noted if the Toronto group's amended bid is "still deemed financially insufficient, or if their non-relocation assurances fall significantly short again, its bid is dead." Otherwise, Morgan Stanley will "invite the group into the final phase of the sale process." While some reports last week said that the Bon Jovi group had bid $1.2B, the amount "was considerably less, perhaps under" $900M. Their "ultimate bid limit is believed to be somewhere approaching" $1.2B (QMI AGENCY, 8/5).

PEGULA PULLING AHEAD? In Buffalo, Tim Graham cites sources as saying that some of Bon Jovi's influential NFL "allies have suggested that he walk away from the sale because the process has damaged his reputation." But another "line of thinking is that pulling out would leave a bad impression, too, and that Bon Jovi wants to see the process through." Bon Jovi is "considered NFL ownership material, but it has become clear in league circles that his future certainly will be with another team." His open letter printed in Sunday's edition of the Buffalo News was "considered a public relations disaster." Meanwhile, sources insist that the pursuit of the Bills by Sabres owner Terry Pegula and his wife, Kim, "has been flawless so far" (BUFFALO NEWS, 8/6). The AP's John Wawrow reported Pegula's "bottom line has received a big bump in his bid to purchase" the Bills, as he closed yesterday on a $1.75B deal "to sell the drilling rights on about 75,000 acres of land in Ohio and West Virginia to American Energy." Before yesterday's sale, Pegula's net worth "was most recently estimated by Forbes to be" $3.3B (AP, 8/5).
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