SBD/August 11, 2014/Franchises

Jim Kelly, Jeffrey Gundlach Look To Be Minority Partners In A Bid For The Bills

Kelly joins a growing list of possible suitors looking to buy the Bills
Pro Football HOFer Jim Kelly and Doubleline Capital Founder & CEO Jeffrey Gundlach met with the Bills' trust Thursday, and even though Gundlach "might not have enough cash to take the lead in buying an NFL club," the pair has "hopes of being matched as minority partners with a more formidable bidder," according to sources cited by Tim Graham of the BUFFALO NEWS. Other "previously unreported parties" who have been involved in the bidding process are former Raptors Owner John Bitove, Canucks co-Owner & Chair Francesco Aquilini and Hyatt Hotels Owner Karen Pritzker and her husband Michael Vlock. Pritzker and Vlock "discussed a sale" with the Bills' trust last week (BUFFALO NEWS, 8/9). In Vancouver, Ben Kuzma writes it "wasn't surprising to learn" that Aquilini was kicking the tires on the Bills because he has a "passion for sports." But the family's Aquilini Investment Group has "backed off." Aquilini said in a statement, "We are not planning to pursue the opportunity further" (THEPROVINCE.com, 8/9).

LOW BALL: FORBES' Mike Ozanian cited sources as saying that three groups have submitted bids of "less than" $1B for the Bills. Sources said that Donald Trump has offered in the mid-$800M range, while Sabres Owner Terry Pegula and Jon Bon Jovi's group have "both offered well under" $1B. The bid figures are an "embarrassment for the NFL" and Morgan Stanley. The investment bank "butchered the sales process and shame on the NFL" for handing them the deal (FORBES.com, 8/10).

STAYING PUT? In Buffalo, Zremski & Precious report the NFL is “stepping up its push" for a new Bills stadium in Western New York. League officials said that a new stadium there is “necessary to provide fans a better experience and to give the team and the league a shot of new revenue.” In a conversation last week with Gov. Andrew Cuomo and in other recent talks with Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), Commissioner Roger Goodell “reiterated his contention that the NFL would like to see the Bills remain in Buffalo.” But Goodell told them that a new stadium “must be part of the mix.” A source said that Goodell “promoted the idea of a new Buffalo stadium again last week in a private phone call with Cuomo” (BUFFALO NEWS, 8/11).
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