Thursday, April 27, 2006

More St Louis Sale Problems

The lockout has reduced the total revenue of the NHL (despite claims of record attendance). In bottom feeding markets there does not remain a high demand to own a hockey team. Previous owners, Bill and Nancy Laurie quit on the team during the lockout. They have twice announced the sale to a group lead by former Madison Square Gardens President Dave Checketts. The first announcement was in September. Checketts backed out in November. He negotiated a new sales price and the sale was reannounced in March.

His March purchase group included three groups of investors called Sports Capital Partners, Towerbrook Capital Partners and Echo Star Communications Corp (these complicated ownership groups only make definitive statements about earnings of hockey teams - and exactly who owns them more complex). St Louis Today is reporting that Echo Star Communications has pulled out. This is not expected to stop Checketts group from buying the Blues.

The business of hockey is all too complicated, with corporations and capital partnership groups with often unnamed people in charge. It makes it hard to know exactly who is in charge and whether or not they have been successful financially with their ownership. The NHL wants it that way. They can feed you whatever financial numbers they want and you have no way of verifying them. One thing is clear, there is no big demand to buy the Blues because of all the time this purchase has taken. Nobody else seems to want them except for Checketts group and they are not finding it particularly easy to put it together. These time delays in the purchase are not a problem to Checketts group because nobody else seems tobe trying to purchase the team.

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