Friday, July 24, 2009
Reinsdorf among 2 to bid for Coyotes
PHOENIX -- A group headed by Jerry Reinsdorf submitted a bid by Friday's deadline to buy the bankrupt Phoenix Coyotes, and an offer by a second bidder was promised.
Reinsdorf's offer to buy the team for about $148 million was expected. Another group of investors headed by Canadian-born businessman Daryl Jones submitted a letter of intent to submit by Aug. 5, the date set for sale of the team.
Both offers would keep the team in Glendale, where the Coyotes have lost tens of millions of dollars in recent seasons.
Thomas Salerno, attorney for Coyotes owner Jerry Moyes, confirmed that the bid and letter were submitted.
Redfield T. Baum, chief judge of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Phoenix, had set Friday as the deadline for submitting bids that would keep the team in Glendale.
If no bid is deemed acceptable, the court will shift to a second timeline for bids to relocate the team. That would reopen the door for Canadian billionaire Jim Balsillie, who has offered $212.5 million to buy the team, contingent on moving the franchise to Hamilton, Ontario.
Details of the bid were not known because the court filings had not been made public. Reinsdorf, owner of baseball's Chicago White Sox and the NBA's Chicago Bulls, is part of a group of investors who have been negotiating with the city of Glendale to rework the lease agreement to play in Jobing.com Arena.
The NHL wants to keep the team in Arizona and believes the franchise can be successful with better management and a better product on the ice.
Nearly 500 documents have been filed in the complex case since Moyes surprised the NHL by taking the team into Chapter 11 bankruptcy on May 5. Moyes lists himself as the lead debtor, saying he is owed $300 million. Under the Balsillie deal, Moyes would get about $100 million.
But under the Reinsdorf proposal, Moyes would get little if anything because of the contention that the $300 million is lost equity and not a debt. That battle is expected to be waged in court filings next week with the deadline for objections next Friday.
Jones, a Connecticut-based investor, heads a group of Canadian and American business people that have expressed increased interest in the team in recent weeks. But since it got a late start in investigating the deal, the group is not ready to submit a formal bid, Jones said in his letter.
It is not clear whether Baum will allow a later bid, although he has indicated in court that his rules would be flexible if a better offer was to come in late.
Balsillie contends he still wants the team to play in Hamilton in the coming season. The NHL, which is funding the franchise while the ownership issue is worked out, says that would be impossible.
The team released its regular-season schedule last week.