According to a report from Bloomberg sports business writer Scott Soshnick, the Carolina Hurricanes are on the verge of being sold for $500 million to Chuck Greenberg, a former partner in the Texas Rangers ownership group who currently owns the Carolina League’s Myrtle Beach Pelicans as well as minority stakes in minor-league baseball teams in Frisco, Texas and State College, Pennsylvania.
Soshnick reports that as part of the deal, the Hurricanes will remain in North Carolina.
WRAL’s Jeff Gravley reports that Hurricanes owner Peter Karmanos has signed a letter of intent to sell the team to Greenberg, who has ties to Penguins owner Mario Lemieux as a member of the board of directors of Lemieux’s foundation. Greenberg brokered the 1999 sale of the Penguins out of bankruptcy to Lemieux and Ron Burkle, and also served in an advisory role during the process that led to the construction of PPG Paints Arena, which opened in 2010.
Greenberg also serves on the board of directors of the Carolina League, the high-A minor league based in Greensboro that includes the Carolina Mudcats, the Pelicans and three other teams in North Carolina.
The Hurricanes have been for sale for the past few years as Karmanos has looked to divest his interest in the club following the passing of general partner Thomas Thewes in 2008. Minority partners in the franchise include general manager Ron Francis; Capitol Broadcasting, the owner of WRAL television and 99.9 The Fan; Charlotte Checkers owner Michael Kahn; and multiple other investors.
Gravley reports that the current minority owners will be offered the option of remaining in partnership with Greenberg after the proposed sale closes. Greenberg had no comment to Soshnick other than asking for privacy as the deal wraps up.
Late Thursday, the Hurricanes issued a statement on the proposed sale:
Since an offer has been made to purchase the team, Mr. Karmanos intends to evaluate that offer and also will continue to evaluate his other options, including retaining his ownership of the team.
The reported $500 million selling price would represent a significant profit for Karmanos, who along with Thewes and current Penguins GM Jim Rutherford purchased the Hartford Whalers for $47.5 million in 1994. It is also a premium over Forbes Magazine’s 2016 valuation of the franchise at $230 million, last in the NHL. The Hurricanes have long disputed Forbes’ figures, arguing that they did not represent the true value of the franchise.
More to come, including a profile of the Canes’ new potential owner and what the franchise can expect moving forward.