The length of the Ottawa Senators sale process has already exceeded the Washington Commanders — and it appears to have a few days to go before a new owner of the NHL franchise is anointed.
While there are indications that the four groups that submitted final, binding bids at the May 15 deadline have been whittled down some, all remain in the mix for the club expected to sell for about $1 billion, two sources with knowledge of the process told Front Office Sports.
Despite hope a winning bidder would be chosen days after the bid deadline, Galatioto Sports Partners — the firm tapped to handle the sale — has continued to meet and request more information from the candidates, sources said.
So, when will this all conclude?
The aim is to have a winner tapped by the end of this week, although one source said it could bleed into next week.
Four groups submitted final bids:
- Billionaire healthcare group founder Michael Andlaue, who also owns a minority interest in the Montreal Canadiens
- Toronto businessman Steve Apostolopoulos
- Entrepreneurs and former Pittsburgh Penguins co-owners Jeffrey and Michael Kimel, who have music artist The Weekend as part of their group
- Los Angeles-based businessman Neko Sparks, whose group includes rapper Snoop Dogg, Canadian Olympic gold medal-winning sprinter Donovan Bailey and others
The Commanders took 191 days between when the team went on the market, and Josh Harris secured a final agreement to purchase the franchise for a record $6.05 billion on May 12.
As of Tuesday, the Senators’ sale has spanned 207 days.
Apostolopoulos showed interest in the Commanders but was never in serious contention in the final weeks before the Harris announcement. But his pursuit of the Senators has progressed to a point where one source believes Apostolopoulos is considered the frontrunner.
The Ottawa Sun reported on Monday that Apostolopoulos’ $1 billion bid for the Senators is the “one to beat.”
The daughters of late owner Eugene Melnyk, Anna and Olivia Melnyk, have met with all four groups in the running in recent weeks, and how soon this could all be over relies on their decision with the input of Galatioto Sports Partners.
Once a bidder is chosen, the paperwork will go into the NHL. That will begin the league’s vetting process, leading to a full ownership vote if there are no concerns.