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Checketts group has 30-day exclusive negotiating window for Blues

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  • Checketts group has 30-day exclusive negotiating window for Blues

    QUOTE
    Checketts has 30-day window to buy Blues
    By Jeremy Rutherford
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    09/29/2005


    The Blues' acknowledgment Thursday that they've signed a letter of intent with Sports Capital Partners means that a prospective buyer of the hockey team and Savvis Center lease is in place. The move, however, does not signify a done deal or that one will be finalized in the 30-day exclusive negotiating window.

    The Post-Dispatch has learned that Dave Checketts, founder of Sports Capital Partners, was one of three bidders for the Blues and Savvis' lease, and because his bid was substantially higher than the other two, owners Bill and Nancy Laurie chose to narrow the focus of their sale to one group.

    A source close to the negotiations said a bid from St. Louis businessman Shaun Hayes was around $100 million, putting Checketts' offer probably near $110 million to $120 million. The identity of the third bidder is unknown, but a person familiar with the negotiations said it was not local businessman Michael Shanahan Jr., who had expressed early interest in owning the team.

    Now with a letter of intent signed, the Blues and Sports Capital Partners will negotiate a final sale price over the next 30 days. It is possible the exclusive negotiating window could be extended past one month, and it's also possible the deal could fall through altogether. Checketts could be using the window to feel out the city about its amusement tax.

    "While no sale agreement has been reached, we welcome Sports Capital Partners' interest, and we look forward to working out the details of an agreement that we hope will benefit all involved, including the team and the city of St. Louis," Blues president Mark Sauer said in a statement.

    Checketts was not available for comment.

    That a letter of intent has been signed by the Blues and Sports Capital Partners indicates a shrewd business strategy employed by Checketts, Webster University associate professor of economics Patrick Rishe said Thursday.

    "Given Checketts' success and the organizations he's been affiliated with," Rishe said, "he probably has the resources to go ahead and bid the market value, close to $120 million, doing that strategically to nullify the competition. Bid so much to discourage anyone else from bidding."

    Whether the letter of intent between the Blues and Sports Capital Partners will stop local investment groups from maintaining their interest remains to be seen. The group led by Hayes, president of National City Bank, probably would keep a close eye on the developments, a source said.

    There was widespread speculation late Wednesday that Checketts' pursuit of the Blues might mean the franchise would be on the move.

    Checketts, 49, lives in Connecticut and has roots in Utah. On Thursday, newspapers in Salt Lake City were planning stories about the Blues' possibly relocating to their city. A new arena was built in the Salt Lake City area for the 2002 Winter Games and is currently the home of the Utah Grizzlies of the East Coast Hockey League.

    Despite this buzz, Blues fans should note that Sports Capital Partners' agreeing to purchase the Savvis lease is a strong indicator that Checketts wants to keep the team in St. Louis. To move the club after buying the lease, he would have to cover approximately $62 million in bonds to pay off the arena's debt.

    No one has indicated that Checketts has agreed to keep the Blues in St. Louis. However, when asked Thursday about the possibility of Checketts buying the team, Blues general manager Larry Pleau said: "I think it would be great for the franchise, the city (and) the fans, knowing the team will be here."

    Rishe, who is also director of the Web site SportsImpacts.com, said Checketts' past indicates he realizes the importance of St. Louis to the Blues.

    "He's a wise enough business person to know not to move a team from a strong market, and this is a strong hockey market," Rishe said. "He would be gravely mistaken to think another market out there would support a team better than St. Louis."

    Many believe, in fact, that Sports Capital Partners sees St. Louis as a viable NBA market, too, and eventually will look into moving a team here. Checketts, once president of Madison Square Garden, which overseas the New York Knicks' operations, has had a long-standing business relationship with NBA commissioner David Stern.

    But before NBA fans - or even Blues fans - look ahead any further, the Lauries must reach a deal with Checketts, and the NHL Board of Governors must approve the purchase.

    The league has become much stiffer in its approval, after Dallas businessman John Spano was allowed to buy the New York Islanders in 1997. Five months later, Spano failed to pay the former owners, and he wound up spending nearly six years in prison.

    Pleau believes that should Checketts buy the team, he will have no problem being approved by the NHL. "He's a good guy, a good person," he said, "someone who has been involved in the sporting world." [/b][/quote]

    "Can't buy what I want because it's free...
    Can't buy what I want because it's free..."
    -- Pearl Jam, from the single Corduroy

  • #2
    Although I'm not as reactionary as the Man U supporters are of Malcom Blazer buying them and Old Trafford this guy seems to be of a similar type (check out the similarities) and it's unsettling to see one of our most important local 'institutions' being sold to a guy whose business it is to make $$ from his investments (primarily sports) who is not a native of this town. A Salt Lake and NYC background makes me VERY dubious about his intentions.

    I've read the fantasies of folks who think we'll possibly end up with pro soccer and NBA teams here as a result but, something tells me, as is the history of our local movers and shakers, they were too slow and too late to react and this could result in some civic angst in a few years when (as someone else posted) the Blues join the Jazz in the least hip city in the States.....Salt Lake.

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    • #3
      eh......don't worry about the moving of the blues. since he's a new york and salt lake city guy........maybe he just needed something in between [img]style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/smile.gif[/img] besides, does he have a history of moving teams? plus, as has been said before, no way the league would allow the blues to leave STL.
      Official 2009 Sponsor of nobody

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      • #4
        I keep hearing the league would never let the team leave St. Louis. Well, the league let the NorthStars leave Minnesota and that was supposedly a strong market.

        I don't think the Blues are going anywhere, but it won't be because the league won't let them move.
        Official sponsor of Mike Shannon's Retirement Party

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        • #5
          Eh, I don't see the Blues leaving, but Savvis could become the Checkerdome... where have I seen this one before [img]style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/biggrin.gif[/img]
          Official 2014-15 Lounge Sponsor of Jori Lehterä
          "He'll Finnish You Off"

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          • #6
            QUOTE
            According to our Jeremy Rutherford, Dave Checketts offered $150 million for the Blues.

            Wow.

            Dude is serious.

            --B
            http://forums.stltoday.com/viewtopic.php?t=293624
            [/b][/quote]

            "Can't buy what I want because it's free...
            Can't buy what I want because it's free..."
            -- Pearl Jam, from the single Corduroy

            Comment


            • #7
              apparently, that 'super secret bidder not named Michael Shanahan' bid close to what Checketts bid....

              "Can't buy what I want because it's free...
              Can't buy what I want because it's free..."
              -- Pearl Jam, from the single Corduroy

              Comment


              • #8
                QUOTE(ElviswasaBluesFan @ Sep 30 2005, 08:14 AM) Quoted post

                I keep hearing the league would never let the team leave St. Louis. Well, the league let the NorthStars leave Minnesota and that was supposedly a strong market.

                I don't think the Blues are going anywhere, but it won't be because the league won't let them move.
                [/b][/quote]

                Truer words were never spoken.

                To clarify, as I understand it, he's not actually buying the building, he's purchasing the lease.

                A $62 million buyout is big, but not out of the question. And what about 5 years from now? What will the buyout price tag be then?

                The Utah Jazz and Blues. That would be ironic.
                LONG LIVE THE NOTE!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Lode,

                  Don't sweat it.

                  There will be large numbers of NH of L teams available to move here - for less than what Checketts is paying.

                  We might even get a franchise with some hope for the future.
                  And, frankly, it has never occured to me that "winning" a debate is important, or that I should be hurt when someone like Airshark or kah, among others (for whom winning a pseudo debate or declaring intellectual superiority over invisible others is obviously very important) ridicule me.

                  -The Artist formerly known as King in KC

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