Several sources, including ESPN and the Buffalo News are reporting that Terry and Kim Pegula have reached a tentative deal to purchase the Buffalo Bills.
All binding bids were submitted to Morgan Stanley, the financial advisers representing late owner Ralph Wilson‘s trust, on Monday and it appears that the Pegulas – always considered the favorite to win the bidding process – has been accepted.
In order for the sale to be completed the Pegulas will first have to secure initial approval from members of the NFL Finance Committee, who are scheduled to meet next week. Following their approval an extensive background check with an NFL selected security firm would follow.
Finally a final vote would be put to the NFL’s other 31 owners with a three-fourths majority being required for the sale to be finalized.
The Bills were recently valued at $935 million but the purchase price is likely to top $1 billion due to the fact that NFL teams are considered such a valuable commodity and rarely come up for sale. The Pegulas bid was selected over one submitted by Donald Trump and a group led by Jon Bon Jovi and backed by Toronto based Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment as well as Rogers Communications.
There were also two unidentified bids put in believed to be fronted by former Buffalo Sabres’ owner Tom Golisano and Amherst native and founder of investment firm Doubleline Capital, Jeffrey Gundlach.
The Pegulas personal wealth is valued at over $3.5 billion and they were viewed as the most likely bidders to keep the Bills in Buffalo for the long term. They have various connections to the Western New York area including ownership of the Sabres and the financing and management of the construction of the downtown HarborCenter project.
Because of this they were backed by several local business and political leaders as well as New York State Senator Charles Schumer who has been very vocal about his support for the couple’s bid and has been active in contacting several prominent NFL owners to demonstrate that support.
It is believed that there should be few roadblocks to the Pegulas receiving final approval and that Kim will have a hand in most of the executive decisions of the team going forward. This is the best case scenario for Bills fans that were (rightfully) concerned that the team could be vacating the city with new ownership.
The Pegulas have made clear that they have no intention of moving the team and, what was a good start to the week with the team’s win over the Chicago Bears, just got even better.