NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The New York Islanders will soon have new owners, pending league approval.
Owner Charles Wang has agreed to sell the team to former Washington Capitals co-owner Jonathan Ledecky and investor Scott Malkin, the team announced Tuesday.
Financial terms of the sale were not immediately known.
The Islanders released the following statement, explaining some of the details of the potential sale:
The New York Islanders announced today that a group led by former Washington Capitals co-owner Jon Ledecky and London based investor Scott Malkin has reached a definitive agreement, subject to NHL approval, to purchase a substantial minority interest in the team. Under the terms of the agreement, Charles Wang will continue as majority shareholder and Governor of the Islanders, with the Ledecky/Malkin group transitioning to majority owner in two years.
“We are pleased to have the opportunity to become partners in the New York Islanders with Charles, and to pursue our shared dream of winning a fifth Stanley Cup for the greatest fans in the NHL,” Mr. Ledecky said.
“I’m thrilled that Jon and Scott have agreed to join me as we start the Islanders’ final year at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum,” Mr. Wang said. “I look forward to a long and successful partnership.”
There will be no further comment until the NHL completes its franchise ownership transfer process.
The surprising news comes following a controversial series of events involving Wang and the only previously publicly announced suitor, Andrew Barroway. The Philadelphia-area hedge fund manager and attorney has said he had a handshake agreement with Wang to purchase the team for $420 million, and is now suing Wang for $10 million, claiming he backed out of the deal.
In the lawsuit, Barroway claimed during correspondence with Wang that the Isles’ owner had decided to sell the team to another party. It appears Ledecky and Malkin were indeed those suitors.
Wang, along with former Computer Associates chief executive Sanjay Kumar, purchased the Islanders back in 2000, paying $74.2 million and assuming $97 million in existing liabilities, Newsday reported. Wang took over majority control in 2004.
Ledecky was chairman of Lincoln Holdings from 1999-2001, which held interests in the Caps and the NBA’s Washington Wizards. Malkin is chairman of UK-based Value Retail, a syndicator of high-end European retail outlets.
The 2014-15 season will mark the franchise’s final season at Nassau Coliseum before moving to Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
The Islanders are coming off a disappointing 34-37-11 season that saw them fail to qualify for the playoffs one season after making their first postseason appearance since 2006-07.
Wang, who had been under heavy criticism in recent years for keeping the team’s payroll at or near the salary cap floor, has made substantial financial investments this offseason, including signing center Mikhail Grabovski to a four-year, $20 million contract, goaltender Jaroslav Halak to a four-year, $18 million contract, and left wing Nikolai Kulemin to a four-year, $16.75 million deal.
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