“We need to stop meeting like this,” said a lighthearted Craig Leipold as he stepped to the podium to announce the sale of his team for the second time in just less than three months. Once again Leipold found himself telling the press about a potential sale, this time to a group of local investors headed by David Freeman, Herb Fritch and out of town investor William "Boots" Del Biaggio III.
With signatures and 10 million dollars a binding letter of intent the local group signed a deal worth $193 million dollars to Leipold. While the deal is significantly less than the deal offered by Canadian Jim Balsillie it does appear that his will keep the Preds here in town.
Freeman said that the investor group is made up of eight investors total, seven of which are local. Freeman said that the remaining investors wish to remain anonymous for an additional two weeks to ‘avoid the cameras’ and scrutiny. He said that the investors are doing it pure reasons. “They are all Nashvillians and they love their town,” said Freeman.
Predator fans may be leery of Del Biaggio involvement since he had a deal in place with the Sprint Center in Kansas City to bring an NHL team. Those fears were put to rest. “Boots is a minority owner and there are no circumstances where he would become a majority owner,” said Freeman.
Leipold says that he feels like the deal will have no problems getting approved by the NHL Board of Governors at their September meetings. There are still some negotiations to be done but it appear that this deal is as good as done. With less than 25% of the purchase price remaining as a debt load for the new ownership is also a good sign for BOG approval.
The mood of this press conference was much lighter than the first and I got the feeling that Leipold was truly happy that the team was staying in Nashville. He said when the deal was done that he was going to buy season tickets because he would still be coming down to see the team…he assumed that his owner’s suite would be occupied come fall.
To hear the press conference go to this link http://www.archive.org/de...atorsSalePressConf.8-1-07