SBJ/July 17 - 23, 2006/This Weeks News

Postolos assembling group to bid on Blazers

Add former Houston Rockets President George Postolos to the list of prospective buyers of the Portland Trail Blazers.

Industry sources said that Postolos, who left the Rockets in June, is in the early stages of putting together a group to bid on the Blazers, a franchise that owner Paul Allen has said could lose up to $100 million in the next three years.

Postolos, 42, who worked for the Rockets for eight years and guided the team through construction of the Toyota Center, resigned to create The Postolos Group, a company that helps investment groups acquire sports franchises.

“I’m not at liberty to comment,”
said Postolos, when asked of any potential bid for the franchise.

Morgan Stanley is representing Allen with the sale, which includes the Blazers and the Rose Garden, the 12-year-old arena formerly run by Allen’s Oregon Arena Corp., which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in February 2004. The arena was then sold to its creditors, the Portland Arena Group.

Allen and the Portland Arena Group have now agreed to bundle the team and the Rose Garden to facilitate a deal.

Other suitors made public include a group led by former Blazers player Terry Porter and another group that includes Hollywood Video founder Mark Wattles. Broadcom Chairman Henry Samueli, who also owns the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks, has also been named as a potential bidder.

The team and arena are expected to sell for between $300 million and $350 million, according to financial experts.

“The team has been a financial disaster and it will be interesting to see [who bids] once they look at the books because the losses are deep,” said one source familiar with the Blazers’ finances. “There has been some historical success in the market. It is going to take some deep pockets, but it’s a turnaround franchise if run right.”

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