Repurchase Attempt of Senators Fails
TORONTO (AP) _ The Ottawa Senators are back on the open market, their future in the Canadian capital in doubt.
Rob Bryden’s bid to repurchase the NHL club collapsed when his main investor pulled out of the deal Thursday. That forced PricewaterhouseCoopers Inc., the court-appointed monitor for the sale of the Senators, to once again seek offers for the team.
``The principal factor was that the U.S.-based public company that was the investing partner decided it would not participate,″ Bryden said during a news conference held during the second intermission of the Senators-Dallas Stars game at the Corel Centre in Ottawa.
Bryden said an auditor for the investor _ New York financier Nelson Peltz, whose company owns the Arby’s fast-food chain _ was leery of the limited partnership scheme upon which the Senators’ deal hinged.
``It was not because of the team or its financial position _ they seemed to be quite enthused with that,″ Bryden said.
The beleaguered Bryden said he wouldn’t be bidding to repurchase the Senators again. But he does not believe that means the team will relocate.
``I would be very surprised if this team doesn’t play a very long time in Ottawa,″ he said.
The decision would appear to open for the door for pharmaceutical billionaire Eugene Melnyk to purchase the Senators, who lead the NHL’s Eastern Conference.
The owner of Mississauga, Ontario-based Biovail Corp., was said to be planning an all-cash bid for the club, but creditors never considered his offer because of their talks with Bryden.
``I have a definite interest in the team,″ Melnyk told the FAN 590, a Toronto all-sports radio station. ``I’ve always said I have an interest.
``What we need to do now is assess the position of the monitor and what the position is of all the other creditors and look to understand that the process will be in making a bid.
``The last thing in the world I want to do is get involved in a big auction and spend a lot of time and a lot of effort for something that may not happen.″
Earlier this month, it appeared Bryden had been successful in his attempt to repurchase the team, which had been put under bankruptcy protection.
The agreement on Feb 10 provided Bryden with a period of exclusivity and contained several specific milestone dates.
But PricewaterhouseCooper said in its release that because of ``various defaults and noncompliance with certain milestones,″ it has ``terminated the agreement″ and now will proceed with the ``marketing process″ for other interested parties.
The release said there will be no sale of the team without approval of the bankruptcy court.