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NFL:Tom Golisano Re-Joins Bidding Process to Purchase the Buffalo Bills


August 8, 2014

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(Image courtesy of rit.edu)
(Image courtesy of rit.edu)

Former Buffalo Sabres’ owner, Tom Golisano, re-entered the race to purchase the Buffalo Bills.

Golisano submitted a non-binding bid to Morgan Stanley, the investment bank handling the sale for Ralph Wilson’s estate, on Thursday after the bank extended the initial deadline of July 29th to allow more potential bidders to enter the race.

Real estate mogul Donald Trump, current Sabres’ owner Terry Pegula, and a Toronto based group headed by Jon Bon Jovi had all previously presented bids for consideration and all are scheduled to attend presentations by Morgan Stanley in the next week.

The presentations are intended to give those bidding on the team a more extensive look at the state of the team’s finances so that they are better able to prepare their formal and final bids which must be submitted within the next three weeks.

Former Bills’ quarterback Jim Kelly and his brother Dan have also been invited to listen to the full presentation on the Bills’ financial background although reports are not clear on whether the Kelly’s would be offering their own bid or if they have joined with another ownership group in an attempt to ensure that the team remains in Buffalo.

Though there would be no greater news to Buffalo fans then to have their beloved quarterback successfully purchase the team, the financial price is more than likely much too steep for Kelly.

Pegula, with a net worth estimated at $3.9 billion – a figure that does not take into account the $1.75 billion deal he secured on Tuesday by selling off acreage for drilling rights – is still considered the favorite to end up with the team with Trump close behind.

Trump’s assets are conservatively estimated at $3.9 billion and, although he seemed to be providing an out from actually going through with the sale if the purchase price grew too steep in an interview last week, is still very much in the running.

As for Golisano he is originally from western New York and owned the Sabres’ from 2003 through 2011 before selling them to Pegula. His net worth is ‘only’ at $1.9 billion so if the bidding does go too high he may again be forced to drop out.

Valued at just $290 million Bon Jovi might not have the liquid assets to purchase the team if the asking price goes above $1.2 billion even with the backing of Larry Tannenbaum and Edward Rogers.

NFL rules require the principle owner of a team to have enough cash to make a significant ‘down payment’ without using any more than $200 million in debt-financing in order to be eligible to hold 30 percent of the ownership stake.
If Bon Jovi fails to reach that 30 percent threshold he might find himself forced out of the process – causing Bills’ fans to rejoice no doubt.

The sale of the Bills’ has taken some unprecedented and unexpected twists and turns in recent weeks so it is not unrealistic to expect more. Nonetheless it is presumed that the sale of the team will be wrapped up, including securing league and ownership approval, by October at the latest. Meanwhile Bills’ fans everywhere continue to hold their collective breath.

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Robert D. Cobb
Founder, Publisher and CEO of INSCMagazine. Works have appeared and featured in places such as Forbes, Huffington Post, ESPN and NBC Sports to name a few. Follow me on Twitter at @RobCobb_INSC, email me at robert.cobb@theinscribermag.com

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