Still Some Work To Be Done
Sources say Matt Hulsizer is “stunned” in response to a report suggesting he has a verbal agreement to purchase the St. Louis Blues.
The same source tells me “there is no definitive agreement” and plenty of work needs to be done before one is secured.
One thing we can report is that Hulsizer is a passionate hockey man who wants to be the next owner of the Blues. I’m also told the Chicago businessman doesn’t want to be known as a tire kicker which is why he’s stayed below the radar and will likely remain there until a deal is finalized.
Many of you might remember Hulsizer going down this road once before with the Phoenix Coyotes. I’m told he was then prepared to put down $100 Million cash to secure the deal but at the end of the day one could not be reached and therefore the team remains in the hands of the National Hockey League.
Sources indicate Hulsizer has been working diligently in an effort to become the next Owner of the Blues but a lot of the due diligence has not been completed. In fact some has not even begun.
One person with firsthand knowledge of the talks tells me a deal has been conceptually agreed to but that’s about it.
I’m told if Hulsizer does purchase the Blues at the number TowerBrook Capital Partners is seeking, the Peabody Opera House would have to be included.
That’s where Checketts comes in. There’s more than a decent chance Checketts remains on board as the Chairman of the Peabody Opera House but as the far as the business and the hockey side of the organization Hulsizer will likely have the final vote on all matters.
This is especially the case on the hockey side where I’m told Hulsizer is expected to be “very involved”.
In other words Checketts would no longer be the Governor of the St. Louis Blues. Several weeks ago I was told Checketts would not remain with the Blues unless he was managing and operating the franchise. Obviously that mindset has changed with him retaining a minority stake.
How the Ownership is divided up percentage wise remains to be seen but sources say Checketts would likely own around a 1/4 of the overall package.
The fact of the matter is that term sheets continue to go back and forth and progress between all parties has been made. Things are moving in the right direction and that’s a positive sign. A September 30th bank imposed deadline recently passed and could serve as motivation for leaking today’s report. There’s a decent amount of pressure to get the team sold and today’s news at least notifies the bank that the wheels are in motion.
Don’t forget NHL payroll kicks in very soon which only increases the pressure to get a deal done.
I’m told Hulsizer can move fast and has the ability to close a complicated transaction like this very quickly. Because of his Phoenix involvement Hulsizer has already bypassed the two biggest hurdles, one being the league and the other the financing. He’s already presented himself in front of the NHL executive committee.
Sources close to the sale tell me if all goes well a deal could realistically close sometime in the next 30 to 90 days.
Again that’s only if both sides reach a deal. I’m told serious negotiations didn’t begin until about six weeks ago. Or until after the August 22nd deadline Checketts and Gameplan LLC set for all interested buyers to submit official offers.