Nine groups in running to purchase Ottawa Senators, report says


Nine different groups have submitted offers to purchase the Ottawa Senators, with some of the bids exceeding US$900 million, according to a report Thursday from a U.S.-based sports publication.

Citing a source familiar with the sales process, Sportico said the bids will be whittled down to a shortlist in the near future and site visits will commence later this month.

According to the publication, potential owners vying to buy the NHL club include Michael Andlauer, who currently has a stake in the Montreal Canadiens, and a consortium that includes actor and former Ottawa resident Ryan Reynolds and Toronto-based real estate developer The Remington Group.

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Former owner Eugene Melnyk’s daughters, Anna and Olivia, took over the Senators after their father died last March. The team, which is now being run by its board of directors, was officially put on the market last fall.

Sportico’s most recent valuations estimate the franchise’s worth at US$655 million, up more than 20 per cent over last year.

Still, the Senators could potentially fetch much more than that on the open market, if other recent sales of NHL clubs are any indication. The Pittsburgh Penguins sold for US$900 million last year, while the Nashville Predators are poised to change hands for US$775 million.

Last June, the Senators signed a memorandum of understanding with the National Capital Commission on a plan that could see a new arena built for the team at LeBreton Flats.

Capital Sports Development is proposing to build an NHL arena and events venue surrounded by mixed-use development, located on Albert Street between Preston Street and City Centre Avenue. 

The site was identified for a potential major facility in the 2021 LeBreton Flats Master Concept Plan, reflecting the feedback of more than 5,000 people who participated in public consultations. 

A Toronto native, Melnyk had owned the Senators since 2003 after purchasing the NHL club and the Canadian Tire Centre for US$130 million. He also was a former owner of the St. Michael’s Majors of the Ontario Hockey League.

While the team advanced to the Stanley Cup final in 2007, Melnyk’s relationship with the city began to sour in later years as the team floundered on the ice and at the box office. During the NHL 100 Classic celebrations in late 2017, the owner publicly mused about relocating the team, prompting disillusioned fans to launch a #MelnykOut campaign.

Two years later, Melynk’s bid to build a new arena at LeBreton Flats with John Ruddy’s Trinity Development Group fell apart amid legal wrangling between the partners. A lawsuit and counterclaim over the failed bid was settled out of court last year.

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