8:30 a.m. CT: Andlauer’s winning bid for the Senators is worth $950MM, sources tell Garrioch. The final purchase price comes in well above most valuations of the franchise – Sportico values the team at $655MM, while Forbes was more optimistic at $800MM in 2022 (although it was a 52% change from 2021).
7:52 a.m. CT: Soon-to-be-former Montreal Canadiens minority owner Michael Andlauer has won the bidding war for the Ottawa Senators and is expected to assume ownership, sources tell Postmedia’s Bruce Garrioch.
Andlauer’s bid won’t quite eclipse the $1 billion US mark but is close to it. The development comes after Garrioch reported Sunday that the NHL had urged the estate of previous owner Eugene Melnyk to reach a resolution to the sale process as soon as possible.
Multiple celebrity-backed bids for the Senators, namely Snoop Dogg’s involvement with Los Angeles-based entrepreneur Neko Sparks, The Weeknd’s involvement with Jeffrey and Michael Kimel, and Ryan Reynolds’ involvement with the Remington Group, were not selected. Reynolds chose not to submit a bid last month, while Andlauer’s bid eclipsed the value and stability of both the Kimel brothers’ and Sparks’ bids.
The agreement will now require approval from NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and the league’s executive board. The board met regarding the sale last Wednesday but will likely meet again in a quick fashion considering today’s development. The approval process may extend beyond the upcoming NHL Board of Governors’ meeting in New York on June 22, but Bettman is expected to provide a comprehensive update to the governors on the status of the sale. In order to go through, Andlauer’s bid will require a two-thirds majority vote from the board.
This is expected to be the largest sale in NHL history, assuming it is indeed in the $1 billion US ballpark. It comes just two decades after Melnyk purchased the team out of bankruptcy. Per Garrioch, a no-relocation clause is included as part of this sale.
Garrioch’s reporting indicates Andlauer has impressed league representatives with his vision for the team and desire for competitiveness. Quality ownership, something that’s been missing at times throughout the team’s 30-plus-year history, should lead to more consistency on the ice.
All four final bids (Andlauer, Sparks, the Kimels, and Toronto billionaire Steve Apostolopoulos) ranged between $850MM and $1 billion, Garrioch said. Apostolopoulos withdrew from the sale process on Friday, citing frustration with the lack of a resolution, which could very well have influenced Andlauer’s camp to get this done quickly.
Per Garrioch, Anna and Olivia, Melnyk’s daughters and heirs of his estate, will retain up to a 10% stake in the franchise upon approval. As part of the agreement, Andlauer will obviously need to divest his ownership share in the Montreal Canadiens, where he currently holds a partial stake.
Andlauer is in a position to have a massive impact on the team – whether it’s by installing a new general manager, constructing a more centrally-located arena for the team, or both. After working with current Edmonton Oilers special assistant to the GM, Steve Staios, during Andlauer’s time owning the OHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs, he should be a name to watch if Andlauer decides it’s time to move on from Pierre Dorion.