Former Tennessee governor buys majority stake in Predators

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The president of the Nashville Predators has agreed to sell the majority of his stake in the NHL team to former Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam.

FILE – Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam speaks during a news conference in Nashville, Tennessee November 13, 2018. The former Tennessee governor is buying out majority owner of the Nashville Predators NHL hockey club, in what the team calls a “phased buyout transaction” over the next several years that will make him the team’s majority owner. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey, File)

The Predators announced the deal Friday. No purchase price details were disclosed for a franchise recently valued at $680 million by Sportico.

Haslam, whose brother Jimmy owns the NFL’s Cleveland Browns and MLS’s Columbus Crew, will buy a majority stake from Nashville chairman Herb Fritch in what the Predators described as a “buy-in deal.” several phases” which will make Haslam the majority owner of the team.

“From the time our Owners Group, made up of first-day pass holders, came together in 2007 to buy and secure the future of the franchise in Nashville, the goal has been to ensure that the stewardship of the team is in good local hands,” said Sean Henry, president and CEO of the Predators and Bridgestone Arena.

Henry said the addition of Haslam to the ownership group solidifies local management of the team for years to come. Forbes estimated Haslam to be worth around $2.3 billion.

“We are thrilled and grateful that he has agreed to join the ownership team,” said Henry.

The final file is in preparation. The sale still needs to be approved by the rest of the Predators organization, which includes 16 co-owners, as well as the NHL. First elected governor of Tennessee in 2010, Haslam will become a minority owner in the coming months and will gradually become a majority owner over the next few years, according to the team statement.

Fritch took over as president of the Predators in January 2019. He was a member of Predators Holdings LLC which purchased the team and management group that runs the arena in December 2007 from original owner Craig Leipold, who bought the Minnesota Wild one year. later.

The local ownership group retained the franchise in Nashville after Leipold tried to sell the team to Jim Balsillie in May 2007. That sale fell through when Balsillie, the co-CEO of manufacturers of Blackberry Research in Motion Ltd., began taking season ticket deposits in Hamilton, Ontario, after telling NHL commissioner Gary Bettman he had no plans to move the team.

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