Wednesday September 27, 2023

Frontrunner to Buy Ottawa Senators Bows Out

  • Toronto businessman grows frustrated with long-running process
  • Deal that could set new league record expected imminently
Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports
Front Office Sports Today

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The Ottawa Senators just lost their most prominent bidder in their attempt to sell the club.

Frustrated with the length and nature of the months-long process, Toronto businessman Steve Apostolopoulos has pulled his bid of more than $1 billion, according to multiple reports and industry sources.

Previously seen as the “one to beat” in the Senators bidding, Apostolopoulos also sought to buy the NFL’s Washington Commanders, who ultimately went to a group led by Josh Harris.

Three primary bidders remain in contention for the Senators: Montreal Canadiens part-owner Michael Andlauer, Jeffrey and Michael Kimel of Toronto-based Harlo Capital, and Los Angeles entrepreneur Neko Sparks.

A deal is now expected to be announced imminently by the NHL, the estate of late team owner Eugene Melnyk, and Galatioto Sports Partners, the New York-based firm running the sale.

The sale is projected to set a new record for an NHL franchise sale, topping the $900 million paid by Fenway Sports Group in 2021 for the Pittsburgh Penguins. Franchise value escalation within the league is fueled in part by ongoing revenue growth and continued economic recovery from the pandemic.

The Senators went up for sale last fall following Melnyk’s death in March 2022. Another group including actor and Wrexham AFC co-owner Ryan Reynolds left the bidding process last month.

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