Thursday, June 04, 2009

For Sale: LAND (and a hockey team) in Florida!!!

Gary Bettman has an interesting bit of comparison shopping to do with word that the Florida Panthers have apparently been sold to Sports Properties Acquisition Corp., who have it seems put together a 240 million dollar purchase for the Panthers, an arena and some land.

The consortium, which apparently includes baseball legend Hank Aaron, most recently put in an unsuccessful bid for the Chicago Cubs, part of their plan to purchase sports properties across the USA.

The concept of these Acquisition groups, at least according to a story in the National Post, is to ask investors to invest in a management team rather than a company itself.

A strategy that apparently worked pretty well in 2007, but has not been wildly successful with the stock market gyrations of 2008 and the subsequent economic malaise that has gripped the world.

Where this leaves the Panthers and their long term future is anyone’s guess. Though it's been reported that current owner Alan Cohen could remain involved with the team, but not in the position of majority owner, perhaps receiving shares in the new venture.
To try and solicit investors in a hockey franchise in these financial times seems to be a rather interesting prospect, especially when it seems that anyone besides someone named Balsillie, is more inclined to take a pass on NHL ownership these days .

Of course, land is always a helpful selling point, and perhaps that is where this plan may find some success, though we somehow remember our history of past land offerings and Florida, and the less than successful outcomes for investors.

The Commissioner, who hasn’t said much about this latest franchise twist, will have to take the prospect to the league owners and hope for 75% of the NHL's 30 owners to vote in the affirmative.

It will be interesting to see if he feels that a blank check consortium, who will want a return on their 240 million dollar investment would be a better fit for the NHL, than the Billionaire from Ontario, with that solid business plan and an interest in the sport highlighted by his passion to bring a seventh NHL franchise back to Canada.

If you’re one of the thirty owners, you have to ask yourself which deal seems to be on more solid ice or land?

No comments: