NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — It seems to be your move, Charles Wang.
Earlier this spring, the owner of the Islanders said he wasn’t actively shopping the team, but would listen to offers. Andrew Barroway appears to be on the verge of making the kind of offer Wang may not refuse.
According to a report in the Sports Business Journal, Barroway, a Philadelphia area attorney-turned-hedge fund manager, has lined up the partners and financing needed to complete a deal. Barroway’s partners were not named, but it had become clear that he would not be able to raise the money needed to buy the Islanders without some help.
Wang and Barroway reportedly have what amounts to a handshake understanding that the sale price of the team would be approximately $400 million. However, Barroway does not have exclusive negotiating rights, meaning Wang can listen to other offers, Sports Business Journal reported.
It’s important to note that Barroway, who was once interested in buying the New Jersey Devils, has been the most aggressive — and the only one named — of the potential suitors to buy the Islanders, who will leave Nassau Coliseum for Barclays Center in Brooklyn after the 2014-15 season. The issue now appears to be just how badly Wang wants to sell.
“It’s still going to be a while before we know if Wang completes the deal,” a league source told Sports Business Journal. “Charles has been focused on the Barroway offer because it meets his price, but Charles can be a tough negotiator. And as (NHL Commissioner) Gary Bettman has said, Charles still has to decide if he’s ready to completely walk away from the team. He loves the Islanders.”
Since taking over principal ownership of the team in 2000, Wang has reportedly lost tens of millions of dollars. However, the move to Brooklyn figures to benefit whomever owns the team in a big way. The NY Post reported that an item in the 25-year lease the team signed with Barclays Center guarantees the Islanders about $50 million in annual revenue for regular season games.
Barclays Center, which is owned by developer Bruce Ratner’s Forest City Ratner and Brooklyn Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov, would keep anything it collects in sponsorship, suite and ticket sales over that amount. Further adding to the Islanders’ potential windfall is the fact that they would not pay rent during the regular season, the newspaper added.
The Islanders are coming off a disappointing 34-37-11 season, missing the playoffs one year after making the postseason for the first time since 2006-07. They are expected to address several needs during free agency, and are currently in negotiations with potential unrestricted free agent goaltender Jaroslav Halak, whose rights they traded for earlier this month.
Much like the fans of this downtrodden franchise, it appears that Barroway is going to have to be patient.
“It could take anywhere from a month to a year,” the league source told Sports Business Journal. “Andy expects Wang to be very deliberate.”
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