Two potential new investors in the Predators could be off the board soon.
Ice Edge Holdings, a consortium of American and Canadian businessmen, will likely soon buy a minority stake in the Phoenix Coyotes. When Chicago Bulls and White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf made a play for the Coyotes earlier this year, the NHL set up meetings between Ice Edge – which had planned to buy the team before Reinsdorf's involvement – and ownership groups in Nashville, Atlanta and Pittsburgh.
Now, the league's Board of Governors, which became the Coyotes' owner as the buyer-of-last-resort, has unanimously approved the sale of the club to Chicago billionaire Matt Hulsizer. After the board meeting, Hulsizer indicated Ice Edge would come on as minority investors in the team.
The sale is contingent on approval of a new lease at Jobing.com Arena by the Glendale City Council. That body is scheduled to vote on the deal – which includes some $197 million in taxpayer-backed bonds – Tuesday night.
Meanwhile, Terry Pegula is reportedly ready to sign and take over the Buffalo Sabres. Pegula is the founder and CEO of East Resources, an oil and gas giant, which he sold in July to Dutch Royal Shell for $4.7 billion. Pegula has Nashville ties as founder and owner of Music Row label Black River Music Group. In September, he donated $88 million to his alma mater, Penn State, to start a collegiate hockey team and build a hockey arena in University Park, Penn.
In a Nov. 23 interview with NashvillePost.com, Predators President Sean Henry said the Predators were in the process of securing new investors, a deal he expected to be closed in "the next few weeks."
"We'll be at the stage to talk about it when it's done," he said.
Henry hopes the increased stability of the franchise and the influx of new money could lead to a re-work of the current lease, which was signed by the then-David Freeman-led local ownership group in 2007.
A leading name for the newest investor is still in the mix: Alberta entrepreneur W. Brett Wilson, who owns a condo in Nashville and is involved in other professional sports ventures with Freeman, continues to call the Predators his favorite team – besides his hometown Calgary Flames – on his Web site.
"We are close to the goal line – not all the final approvals and paperwork are done – I look forward to final closing – and to owning a small slice of a great franchise," his site reads.