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Old 09-14-2006, 10:26 AM   #111
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Default Re: Penguins Reject Cuban/Marino Group

Penguins focus on sale to one of four entities
New letter of intent due soon

Thursday, September 14, 2006

By Shelly Anderson, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The Penguins are moving forward in their search for a buyer for the team and could be close to signing a new letter of intent, several sources close to the sales process said yesterday.

The hockey team, owned in part by Hall of Fame player Mario Lemieux, appears to be focused on one of four entities -- Sam Fingold, a Hartford real-estate developer who signed a letter of intent for exclusive negotiating rights in late July but has not been able to reach a purchase agreement; finalist bidders Andrew Murstein and Jim Renacci, or the secretive Canadian person or group that was close to signing a letter of intent in mid-July.

At least one of those entities has been closely reviewing the organization's operations.

It's believed Lawrence Gottesdiener, another Hartford real-estate developer who was a finalist bidder in July, has fallen out of the picture.

Fingold's bid was about $175 million, similar to the earlier one made by the Canadian bidder. Murstein, a New York business owner, and Renacci, an Ohio businessman and Ringgold High School graduate, came in at lower numbers.

The Canadian entity has been linked by Canadian newspapers to Jim Balsillie, chairman of Ontario-based Research in Motion, the firm that makes wireless BlackBerry devices. Balsillie told a woman who answered the phone at his home that he did not want to comment.

In July, the Canadian bidder backed out of signing a letter of intent at the last moment because it became clear the Penguins could not freely be moved to another city. That bidder apparently was eyeing Hamilton, Ontario.

Any sale has to be approved by the NHL, which might be reluctant to green-light anyone intent on moving the club. Under Bylaw 36, the league can block a transfer as long as there is a viable plan to replace obsolete Mellon Arena.

The Penguins have a partnership with gaming company Isle of Capri Casinos, which has promised to donate $290 million toward a new facility if it gets the city's slots license to be awarded later this year.

If one of the other two finalists for the slots license -- Forest City/Harrah's and PITG Gaming -- prevails, state and local officials have proposed a "Plan B" for arena funding that relies on gaming money, state money and contributions from the Penguins.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/06257/721722-61.stm
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Old 09-14-2006, 05:50 PM   #112
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Default Re: Penguins Ownership Update Thread

I don't understand - if Fingold couldn't get a deal done, how is he still in the running? You'd think that would pretty much put him out of the picture.

I got a 10 spot that says they end up being sold to that Canadian bidder who has every intention of moving the team. That would truly be a sad day for hockey in Pittsburgh.
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Old 09-15-2006, 10:33 AM   #113
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Default Re: Penguins Ownership Update Thread

Alrighty then. Scratch that. It's not Fingold, it's Balsillie......

Canadian top bidder in hunt for Penguins
Friday, September 15, 2006

By Shelly Anderson, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

If you are among the millions of people who can't live without one of the ubiquitous wireless BlackBerry devices, then you know why Jim Balsillie is a multimillionaire.

Balsillie, chairman and co-CEO of Research in Motion, the company based in Waterloo, Ontario, that makes the BlackBerry, has emerged as the latest frontrunner to buy the Penguins, two sources with knowledge of the sale process said yesterday.

His second pursuit of the hockey team is the latest development in what has been a roller-coaster ride the past several months as fans have waited to see who buys the club and whether the new owner intends to keep it in Pittsburgh.

Balsillie, who has declined comment, was the secretive Canadian bidder who nearly signed a letter of intent with the Penguins in mid-July. He backed out when he realized it wouldn't be simple to move the team. It's believed he wanted to relocate it to Hamilton, Ontario, which is near Waterloo.

After that, four other prospective owners staged a bidding war. Hartford real-estate developer Sam Fingold prevailed and signed a letter of intent in late July, but was not able to reach a purchase agreement with the Penguins, who are owned in part by Hall of Fame player Mario Lemieux.

Fingold and two other bidders -- New York businessman Andrew Murstein and Ohio businessman and Ringgold High School graduate Jim Renacci -- remain involved and interested, but Balsillie has moved ahead of them.

His earlier offer was in the range of $175 million to $180 million.

It's not known why Balsillie re-emerged or what his intentions would be if he is successful in buying the Penguins.

A new owner would be bound to the team's arrangement with Isle of Capri Gaming, which will donate $290 million toward a new arena if it is awarded the city's slots license later this year.

If Forest City/Harrah's or PITG Gaming land the city's slots license, there is a proposed "Plan B" for arena funding that draws on slots and state money as well as contributions from the Penguins.

The team's lease at Mellon Arena expires in June, and Penguins officials maintain they need a new venue to be viable in Pittsburgh.

Under NHL Bylaw 36, the league can block a move to another city if there is a plan to make a team viable. The league also must approve any sale.

An attempt to relocate a team to Hamilton could be met with strong resistance from officials of teams in nearby Buffalo and Toronto.

It seems clear that Balsillie, a native of Peterborough, is entrenched in southern Ontario.

According to RIM's Web site, Balsillie has been the chairman and co-CEO since 1992 and is involved in several community and charitable projects. He's also a sports enthusiast who plays hockey and golf and competes in triathlons.

Balsillie joined RIM following jobs with Prudential Bache Securities, Ernst & Young, and Southerland Schultz Inc. He has a bachelor's degree from the University of Toronto and an MBA from Harvard.

The popularity of BlackBerrys has fueled RIM's explosive growth. The company posted profits of nearly $130 million in its fiscal first quarter that ended in June, up more than six-fold from one previous year on sales that rose more than 9 percent to $613.1 million. In the just-ended quarter, RIM said it expects to report profits to be higher and for sales to fall in the $620 million to $650 million range.

It also expects to have added about 700,000 subscribers, pushing the number of BlackBerry customers to more than six million.

RIM got out of a jam last year when it settled for $612.5 million with a Virginia company that claimed the BlackBerry infringed on its patents. A judge had threatened to suspend BlackBerry service in the United States.

At the time, Balsillie said of the settlement, "There's no question we took one for the team."

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/06258/722032-61.stm
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Old 09-15-2006, 10:41 AM   #114
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Default Re: Penguins Ownership Update Thread

Looks like I'd have won that $10...

Well folks, enjoy Penguins hockey at the Arena this year, because this will be the last time you will get your chance. This Canadian bidder will do everything in his power to undermine the whole new arena process and move the team, just like Fingold would have. Yes, I know about bylaws and potential blockage by the Sabres and Leafs, but palms can be greased and wallets lined with cash to make things happen.

A sad, sad day for hockey if this guy buys the team.
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Old 09-15-2006, 10:51 AM   #115
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Default Re: Penguins Ownership Update Thread

At this point, at least for me, it's impossible to put blame on anybody or to state which bidder is better for keeping the team in Pittsburgh when all is said and done. The details of these dealings are very, very shady.

Murstein, Fingold and Balsillie have all stated in the past that they wouldn't mind moving the team out of Pittsburgh. It's not as if we have one ownership group coming out to the media and stating "No matter what we are keeping this hockey team in the city of Pittsburgh.". Tell you the truth, I don't know what to think of this whole situation because the details are very murky.

I will say this though. I don't see the Penguins being moved to Hamilton for the simple fact that Buffalo and Toronto would have something to say about that because of the close proximity. Buffalo in particular since they just got out of bankruptcy.
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Old 09-15-2006, 02:16 PM   #116
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Default Re: Penguins Ownership Update Thread

man...this just ain't cool.

i'm glad it didn't happen a few years back, though. would've been really weird to keep hearing about the portland penguins.

maybe things will work out and they'll be able to stay. we can sure hope....
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Old 09-15-2006, 04:11 PM   #117
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Default Re: Penguins Ownership Update Thread

I'm with 83 on this one - I really don't know what to think here, as there are obviously things that the general public and the media aren't being told. I am not going to be a happy lady if the Pens are moved to Hamilton or anywhere else, though Hamilton, Ontario is my birthplace and I have friends in the area. I know Mario and Co. want to get as much cashola for the team as they can, as good and responsible businessmen do, but I just can't fathom the idea that Mario would even consider this, as he knows better than anyone how much we love our Pens here in the Burgh, how much we supported them last season and the potential for record crowds this season with Evegni's long-awaited arrival. I can't believe Mario would do this to all of us who welcomed him with open arms at the beginning of his career, loved him, supported him in his time of crisis and continue to support this team.
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Old 09-15-2006, 06:06 PM   #118
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Default Re: Penguins Ownership Update Thread

This is the reason why I take this whole situation with a grain of salt and try not to jump to conclusions....


RIM boss denies he's buying NHL's Penguins
Pittsburgh newspaper says Ballsillie is front-runner to take over

By MATT WALCOFF RECORD STAFF
WATERLOO

Research In Motion Ltd. co-chief executive officer Jim Balsillie this morning denied a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article that says he wants to buy the Pittsburgh Penguins hockey team.

The Post-Gazette quoted unnamed sources familiar with the sale process as saying Balsillie is the front runner to buy the team from the current owners, who have been soliciting bids.

The story also says Balsillie tried to buy the team in July for $175 million to $180 million US with the intention of moving them to Hamilton.

Balsillie has long denied any intention to buy the Penguins, and he did so again today when shown the Post-Gazette article.

"No; it's not true," he told The Record at a conference at the Center for International Governance Innovation.

For more than two years, Balsillie has denied rumours and reports that he is seeking to buy an National Hockey League team.

He surmised the rumours arise from his acquaintance with Mario Lemieux, the former Penguins star and co-owner of the team.

http://www.therecord.com/breakingnew...s_6096008.html
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Old 09-15-2006, 08:21 PM   #119
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Default Re: Penguins Ownership Update Thread

With Crosby and Malkin in the fold, this whole thing just depresses me.
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Old 09-16-2006, 04:17 PM   #120
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Default Pens Open Practice Today

XT and I attended the second day of open practice for the Pens down at Mellon Arena. What a treat! We sat a few rows back right behind the Pens bench and got to see all of the action up close.

Overall, the team as a whole looked pretty darned good. The players were divided into two teams - black and white - and all 4 goalies presently on the roster (Fleury, Thibault, Penner and Sabourin) played fairly well, though Fleury still hasn't mastered playing the puck all too well just yet and Thibault was flopping a bit prematurely. Malkin continued to wow the crowd with his overall skill level and is just amazing! Sid the Kid also looked pretty dominant, as did Recchi, Malone, Talbot, and Ruutu (bad mofo!) and Exton. The Pens paired up Gonchar and Eaton and they appear to be a pretty dynamic duo. Noah Welch, Jordan Staal, Daniel Carcillo and Micki DuPoint looked very promising, as well.

The top 2 lines seem to have been determined - Exton, Crosby and Armstrong on the front line and Recchi, Malkin and Ruutu on the second line and both lines looked very good. I believe the Pens are going to have a kick-ass PP this season and finally we have some definite physical presence! Malkin takes no crap, either - LOL!

We left feeling very excited about the upcoming season and strongly believe that this team is finally headed in the right direction. LETS GO PENS!
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