NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Suddenly, everyone seems to want to buy the Islanders.
According to a report in the NY Post, Phil Falcone is mulling selling his share of the Minnesota Wild with the goal of purchasing a piece of the Islanders.
Falcone, a hedge fund mogul and former hockey player at Harvard, owns 45 percent of the Wild, but has been at odds with co-owner Craig Leipold over how to cover the franchise’s reported $20 million annual loss, the newspaper reported.
Falcone and Leipold bought the Wild for $225 million in 2008.
The Islanders announced in mid-August that owner Charles Wang had sold a minority share of the team to former Washington Capitals co-owner Jonathan Ledecky and investor Scott Malkin. As part of the deal, Ledecky and Malkin are to be minority owners for two years before taking over principle ownership.
It’s believed Ledecky, who is friends with Falcone, and Malkin would need additional investors to buy Wang out, the Post reported.
If Falcone agrees to become part of the Islanders’ ownership group he would first need to make sure his business troubles are in the past. According to the St. Paul Pioneer Press, Falcone, the founder of Harbinger Capital and LightSquared, was hit with an $18 million fine and two-year ban by the Securities and Exchange Commission in 2013 for “manipulating the stock market and improperly borrowing $113 million from his hedge fund to pay his taxes.”
Falcone, who lives in New York City, at one time had an estimated worth of $1.2 billion, according to Forbes.
The Islanders, who finished a disappointing 34-37-11 last season and missed the playoffs one season after making their first postseason appearance since 2006-07, are set to begin their final season at Nassau Coliseum before moving to Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
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.
The Islanders open training camp on Thursday.
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