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TBJ: Two investors pull out of Carolina Hurricanes ownership group

Hurricanes Holdings, L.P., the group of minority investors in the Canes franchise, now consists of 19 members after two left the group recently.

Jamie Kellner

Dane Huffman of the Triangle Business Journal reported this afternoon that two unidentified minority investors have returned their stakes in the Carolina Hurricanes, totaling a combined $6 million in investment, back to the investment partnership.

One investment was for $4.5 million and the other was for $1.5 million. The smaller share has already been picked up by one of the current investors, and the team is looking for investors to pick up the larger share.

The Hurricanes Hockey Limited Partnership was created in 2011 as a vehicle for minority investors to assume shares of the club. Majority owner Peter Karmanos Jr. was the sole owner of the franchise after 2008, when general partner Thomas Thewes passed away, and Karmanos had long sought investors to buy into the franchise and lessen his exposure as the sole stakeholder.

Ten investors, including former Hurricanes and current Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford, were in the initial round of ten partners to purchase shares in the club in 2011. Since then, the number of minority investors increased to 21, and now sits at 19 after the two exits from the group reported today.

According to the 2016-17 Hurricanes media guide, three minority investors who were listed in the 2015-16 media guide were no longer listed in the ownership group before the current season started: Rutherford, former Red Hat CEO Matthew Szulik, and retired Tekelec CEO Ron de Lange. It is unknown whether they remain members of the ownership group, and which if any returned their shares to the franchise. Six minority ownership group members have chosen to keep their investments private, a number that has remained consistent since 2014.

Current minority investors in the club include current Hurricanes general manager Ron Francis, the family which owns Clancy and Theys Construction, Capitol Broadcasting Company, and Charlotte Checkers owner Michael Kahn.

According to Huffman, “as part of the deal, investors could get their money back in five years – with interest – if they were not happy with the direction of the team.” The original team of minority investors were announced in November of 2011, which matches up with the timeframe of investors returning their shares in the franchise back to the club in recent months.