NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Jonathan Ledecky and Scott Malkin will officially take over control of the Islanders in two years, now that the NHL Board of Governors has approved their purchase of the team from Charles Wang.
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman told reporters on Tuesday that Ledecky, the former co-owner of the Washington Capitals and NBA’s Washington Wizards, and Malkin, an investor, are prepared to “bring in some additional ownership expertise, resources.”
That could mean they target fellow Harvard graduate Phil Falcone, a hedge fund mogul who currently co-owns the Minnesota Wild.
According to a recent report in the NY Post, Falcone is mulling selling his share of the Wild with the goal of purchasing a piece of the Islanders. Falcone, who lives in New York City, 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.
Bettman said the sale to Ledecky and Malkin was approved unanimously by the Board of Governors.
“There’s some documentation that has to be finished and the transaction actually has to close,”Bettman said. “My guess is they’re going to try and move it as quickly as possible. It’s not going to happen tomorrow because there is some work to do. But I think they’re probably shooting to get it done before the start of the season next week. If they miss it, that doesn’t mean anything bad.”
On the day the sale was announced, the Islanders released a statement that said in part, “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.”
Financial terms of the sale have not been released.
Ledecky was chairman of Lincoln Holdings from 1999-2001, which held interests in the Caps and Wizards. Malkin is chairman of UK-based Value Retail, a syndicator of high-end European retail outlets.
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.
He had been under heavy criticism in recent years for keeping the team’s payroll at or near the salary cap floor, but made substantial financial investments this past 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 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.
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