Two Firms Offer $3.5 Billion for NHL

The proposed plan reportedly calls for the National Hockey League to be operated as one company with franchise outlets, effectively resulting in a ...
Stephen TaubMarch 4, 2005

A major buyout firm and a sports advisory firm have teamed up for an unprecedented offer to buy all of the 30 teams in the National Hockey League for $3.5 billion, according to the Toronto Globe and Mail and the Associated Press.

Bain Capital Partners LLC and Game Plan LLC — both Boston-based — made their pitch earlier this week to NHL owners, according to the reports. Last month, the league cancelled the current season as a result of a lockout by the owners.

The offering price is well below the estimated valuation of $4.9 billion (including the value of the arenas) that Forbes assigned to the 30 teams before the work stoppage. The magazine estimated that the Detroit Red Wings franchise, at $266 million, is the most valuable, while the Edmonton Oilers bring up the rear at $86 million.

“The substance of the presentation and the reaction of the board” are “internal league matters, and ones on which we are not prepared to comment further,” said NHL chief legal officer Bill Daly in a statement Thursday, according to the AP.

According to the Globe and Mail, the proposed plan calls for the NHL to be operated as one company with franchise outlets, which would bridge the wide revenue differences among the 30 teams — resulting, in effect, in a major form of revenue-sharing.

GamePlan, started in 1992, is an investment firm that specializes in sports franchises. Bain, a private equity firm with about $17 billion in assets, has investments in more than 200 companies.

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