Topgolf Chair Tom Dundon Signs Agreement To Buy Controlling Interest In Hurricanes
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said that Topgolf Chair Tom Dundon has "signed a purchase agreement to buy a controlling interest" in the Hurricanes from current Owner Peter Karmanos Jr., according to a front-page piece by Chip Alexander of the Raleigh NEWS & OBSERVER. Bettman said that the transaction "was not completed but could be in the next few weeks." He also said that the team "would remain in Raleigh." Karmanos will "retain an equity stake in the team." Whether the Centennial Authority, the public board that administers PNC Arena, would have to "approve the transfer of the arena lease to Dundon would depend on how the sale is structured." If Dundon becomes a part-owner of Gale Force Holdings, the Hurricanes’ current parent company that also manages the arena, there would "potentially be no alterations to the lease." That would change if Dundon "created a new entity to operate the team and arena." A group headed by sports attorney Chuck Greenberg put together a term sheet that had Karmanos’ approval, but Greenberg had "trouble lining up enough investors to meet Karmanos’ selling price." Karmanos said that price was between $450M and $500M (Raleigh NEWS & OBSERVER, 12/8). THE ATHLETIC's Pierre LeBrun cited a source as saying that Dundon will "own close to" 52% of the team and Karmanos "would retain" the rest. The source also said that Dundon has an "option in three years’ time to buy the remaining shares off Karmanos" (THEATHLETIC.com, 12/7). Dundon said that he would "like to put off discussing the deal in detail until after the transaction closes." In Dallas, Karen Robinson-Jacobs notes Dundon "confirmed that under the deal he 'will have control of the team'" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 12/8).
CELEBRATE GOOD TIMES: In Raleigh, Luke DeCock writes Karmanos "should have and deserves the fervent and genuine appreciation" of Hurricanes fans for "bringing the team here and keeping it here." DeCock: "All that said, this is a glorious day. He finally has an agreement in place to sell the team ... And to someone who isn’t Quebecor." The indecision and uncertainty surrounding Karmanos’ "increasingly tenuous personal finances held this franchise hostage for far too long." His absentee ownership "kept the Hurricanes from making the inroads in the community they should have long ago." And the force of his personality and "penchant for pile-driving his foot into his mouth always made for interesting times for those who had to work for him and deal with him on a daily basis." What role Karmanos will play under Dundon’s majority ownership "remains the most fascinating of the unanswered questions surrounding the sale." Dundon brings "two attributes to the franchise which Karmanos could not: Money and a new perspective" (Raleigh NEWS & OBSERVER, 12/8).