Stillman Sale to Close Wednesday
It’s been a long time coming but Tom Stillman has officially purchased the St. Louis Blues. The sale of the team is expected to close Wednesday with a formal press conference later in the week.
Stillman signed a purchase agreement to buy the Blues, the Peoria Rivermen, and the Scottrade Center lease in early January but his efforts to become majority Owner began over a year ago. Once Dave Checketts announced he was forced to sell the franchise Stillman immediately expressed interest.
Checketts signed a purchase agreement with Chicago businessman Matt Hulsizer in late October only to have it terminated by the league two months later.
Stillman has turned to an impressive roster of local investors who are sure to put a burst of energy and excitement into the community. Many have yet to be identified but will be later in the week. We’ve reported the names of the Taylor Family; Donn Lux; Steve Maritz; Tom Schlafly; and Sen. John Danforth R-Mo many times over the last several months. There are several more impressive names to come.
Sources say none of the investors will have any day to day responsibilities with the organization.
Dave Checketts will remain an indirect owner of a very small fraction of a deeply subordinated interest of the franchise. Checketts will have no control of the interest as that belongs to TowerBrook Capital Partners. Neither Checketts nor TBC will have any direct involvement on day-to-day decision making. TBC will hold some approval rights on bigger issues such as budgets etc…
On the ice the organization appears to be on its feet following a 109 point season and a first place finish in the Central division. There are some decisions to make on player contracts but the team is set up to be competitive moving forward.
The majority of Stillman’s attention will be placed on the business side where he has lots of works to do. His goal will be to get the Blues on sound financial footing to allow the organization to be sustainable long-term.
Finding a business model that works will help keep the product on the ice competitive moving forward. The two go hand-in-hand and many internally are hoping for stronger communication and a fresh environment between departments on the business side.
Generating stronger revenues is critical for the organization and it’s something Stillman will immediately begin to focus on. From ticketing, sponsorships, and suite revenues, Stillman will look to find smarter ways to run operations.
The Opera house will continue to be run as is at the beginning. Things will be evaluated to determine what changes, if any, need to be made. In the meantime the Scottrade Center will continue to staff security, ushers, and ticketing etc…
Changes on the Horizon?
Whenever you transition into new Ownership, changes are usually made. I expect to see significant administrative changes in the not too distant future.
Doug Armstrong will remain on board as the Blues General Manager.
There’s also the strong likelihood of Hall of Famer Brett Hull returning to the organization. Although no official agreement has been made Hull is expected to assist Stillman on both the business and hockey side. This will be a full-time job for Hull who will once again be a visible member of the organization and the community.
Significant changes will be made on the business side as well. Stillman has indicated he will take a heavy hands-on approach to running the organization in the early stages.
All of these decisions will be made in due time. The first order of business is for Stillman to evaluate everything from the ground up before announcing his management team. This evaluation process begins immediately.
The sale price comes in around $130 million with another close to $40 million of equity belonging to shareholders from the previous Ownership group.
Stillman, owner of Summit Distributing, joined Checketts as a Minority Owner back in 2006 and has held a 17% stake in the franchise ever since.
More to come,
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