Toronto-based businessman Steve Apostolopoulos, the presumptive owner of the sole $1 billion bid submitted for the Ottawa Senators, has pulled out over frustration surrounding the length of negotiations, per Postmedia’s Bruce Garrioch.
Apostolopoulos’ decision marks the second bidder to walk away. As Garrioch notes, this move comes after Vancouver-born actor Ryan Reynolds and the Markham-based Remington Group also withdrew last month due to the estate over former owner Eugene Melnyk and New York-based banker Galatioto Sports Partners’ (GSP) refusal to grant an extended negotiating window with the National Capital Commission and the city of Ottawa for a new arena.
With Apostolopoulos and Reynolds out of the picture, the remaining two serious contenders are Toronto businessman Michael Andlauer and the Kimel brothers, Jeffrey and Michael, minority owners of the Pittsburgh Penguins. Although neither group has submitted a bid surpassing $1 billion, those close to Andlauer suggest he’s determined to acquire the Senators and is exploring options to bring in additional investors to bolster his bid, which is currently estimated at around $900 million.
As a part-owner of the Montreal Canadiens and a member of the NHL’s board of governors, Andlauer’s involvement in the league is seen as a positive factor by the NHL’s head office, says Garrioch. The more publicized bid led by Los Angeles-based entrepreneur Neko Sparks, including backing from Snoop Dogg and the Kitigan Zibi Anishinābeg First Nation group, still is not fully funded but remains in the running.
Meanwhile, Garrioch reports Toronto billionaire Jamie Salter has submitted a revised bid to GSP over the weekend, intensifying the competition. The franchise was officially put up for sale on November 7, and it has now been four weeks since the binding bids were submitted, which, with hindsight, seems a rather pointless exercise considering the team is barely any closer to a sale.