Former Preds suitor attempting to get share of team from bankruptcy court

Thursday, October 2, 2008 at 2:26am
Jim Balsillie

Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail is reporting that twice-spurned National Hockey League suitor Jim Balsillie is once again making a play for the Nashville Predators.

Balsillie, the former co-chairman of Blackberry maker Research In Motion, had been in line last year to buy the Predators from former owner Craig Leipold. That deal fell through, however, when Balsillie angered many in the NHL, including Leipold, for making overt plans to move the team to Canada. He had a similar situation occur in 2006 when he attempted to purchase the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The end result of Balsillie's actions bought time for a group of local investors led by businessman David Freeman to put together a deal to purchase the team. Among their investment group was another NHL suitor, William "Boots" Del Biaggio of California.

Del Biaggio ran into trouble this past June and filed for bankruptcy after a series of questionable business deals and loans were discovered. His ownership of the Predators is listed as his biggest asset.

With Del Biaggio now having to unload his stake in the team, the current ownership group has stated that it will look to acquire his shares. The Globe and Mail is reporting now that Balsillie is still in the picture and is attempting to buy Del Biaggio's shares from the bankruptcy trustee.

The caveat of this is that Balsillie's team has and will argue that Del Biaggio's share includes an agreement that he could move the team after so many years and buy out the other investors. Herb Fritch, a Predators minority owner and CEO of HealthSpring, told the Canadian paper that there are two barriers Balsillie will face.

"Balsillie's bid would have to be approved first by the rest of the Predators' owners, and then by the NHL's board of governors."

Here is a link to the Globe and Mail article.

Filed under: City Business
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By: idgaf on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Being an impartial observer I see his involvement and the possible move to Canada a positive for everyone. Us, the league and the team(s).It puts in place all kinds of possibilities up there for road trips for the fans. (bus).The league is dieng and he and the move could revive it.

By: Time for Truth on 12/31/69 at 6:00

He gave us the Blackberry.We should give him the raspberry!

By: frank brown on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Strictly a move by Balsille to harass a very fragile franchise.

By: nashbeck on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Being an impartial observer Idgaf? You are "leing" more than the team is "dieng". Road trips for the fans via buses? Guess what idgaf, even if Sillie buys a 27% stake in ownership, it's only a 27% stake. Guess who owns the other 73%? LOCAL OWNERSHIP. As Herb Fritch, a MAJORITY Owner stated, a relocation would have to be approved by the LOCAL ownsers and the nhl. Go Nashville Predators! Make it to the playoffs and win!!! Win the Stanley Cup!!!! Average 14k a game fans!!!!!

By: JK049 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

What's so great about "bus trips for fans"? I'd rather get in my car and drive downtown. The Preds moving to Canada wouldn't be good for anybody.The league is not "dying" and even if it were, moving one team somewhere wouldn't make any difference.The Preds stay in Nashville, so if this guy wants them, he better pack a lunch!

By: BigPapa on 12/31/69 at 6:00

He would be a good contingency plan for the local owners should this go belly up. Let him get the 27%, then if things go south you have a built is buyer (who doesn't mind over paying either)to purchase the remaining percentage. Freeman and co. make out just as good as CL and walk way with stack of cash.

By: airvols on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Tell him to take his Maple Leaf and shove it.

By: OneTimer on 12/31/69 at 6:00

I'm "dieing" to hear more from id.

By: idgaf on 12/31/69 at 6:00

By: nashbeck on 10/2/08 Being an impartial observer Idgaf? You are "leing" more than the team is "dieng". By: OneTimer on 10/2/08 I'm "dieing" to hear more from id.........................Are you guys feeling a little inscure/small today or are you bucking for a job as someones secretary?Do you make coffee and pick up the dry cleaning?

By: calpalntn on 12/31/69 at 6:00

By: idgaf on 10/2/08 Are you guys feeling a little inscure/small today or are you bucking for a job as someones secretary?Do you make coffee and pick up the dry cleaning?****************************id, your an IDIOT!

By: producer2 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Well he won't win a spelling bee that is for sure!....